Allergic conjunctivitis treatment depends upon the severity of the symptoms in the patient. This is mainly because mild allergic conjunctivitis symptoms may not require much treatment except for the use of cold compresses, while severe symptoms like ocular pain, intense itching, watering, and redness of the eyes need treatment with various medicines.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment – A Look At What’s Involved
Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment For The Root Cause
An allergy specialist will help you identify the substance that is inducing allergic conjunctivitis. Avoiding exposure to such allergens will automatically reduce the chances of the worsening and recurrence of this condition.
Treating The Symptoms Of Allergic Conjunctivitis
The most commonly preferred mode of allergic conjunctivitis treatment is topical (local or ocular) medication. As the symptoms arise mainly due to the activation of mast cells and the release of histamine, treatment is based on the use of eye drops or eye ointments that contain anti-histaminic and anti-inflammatory properties. Mast cell stabilizer drugs or steroids are also used for treating this condition.
Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms arise due to the histamine released from the mast cells. Histamine causes redness, itching, and watering of the eyes. Anti-histaminic drugs (like Ketotifen, Cetirizine, Chlorpheniramine) destroy this substance and relieve the symptoms.
Mast Cell Stabilizers
Mast cells are the main cells that initiate the chemical cascade for allergic reactions in the conjunctiva by secreting various chemical transmitters like histamine and interleukins. Exposure to the allergens generally activates the mast cells, and when the mast cells are stabilized, the cascade stops at that particular level and no further symptoms occur.
Commonly used mast cell stabilizing eye drops contain drugs like Lodoxamide, Sodium Chromoglicate, and Nedocromil. They act by blocking the calcium-mediated gateways that cause the release of histamine from the cells. Mast cell stabilizers take quite a long time to act, but they are well known for their long-lasting action.
Dual Action Drugs
Some drugs have both mast cell stabilizing and antihistaminic effects, and work by performing a dual action. Ketotifen and Olopatadine are examples of this type.
Steroids are hormones secreted by the adrenal gland of the body. They work by suppressing the immunological cells and decreasing the production of antibodies. Examples of steroids include Dexamethasone and Fluorometholone.
Essential Information About Steroid Use
Before using steroids, you should know what you’re getting into. Here are some basic facts that you need to know.
- Steroids must be used cautiously and under a doctor’s observation only.
- They must be used only in cases of severe allergic conjunctivitis and not for early and mild symptoms of the condition.
- As the side effects of using steroids may outweigh their curative effects, they must be used with utmost caution.
- Steroids suppress defensive cells in the body and favor the growth of organisms that cause infections. When used improperly, they may cause severe bacterial growth that affects the eyes, and this might permanently affect your vision.
Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment – Dealing With The Other Types
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis – Usually seen in contact lens users, this condition can be treated by discontinuing the use of lenses till the symptoms disappear.
- Contact Conjunctivitis - As this condition is caused by contact with cosmetics and perfumes, it can be treated by avoiding exposure to such allergens.
Desensitization Allergen Immunotherapy
This is a method that involves the gradual desensitization of a person to allergens. The treatment follows the belief that administering allergens below the skin at certain intervals over a period of time can reduce the intensity of the allergic reaction.
This must be carried out only under medical supervision. Not all cases require this kind of treatment, but it is particularly helpful for atopic individuals.
Measures To Prevent Allergic Conjunctivitis
Prevention is always better than cure, so apart from allergic conjunctivitis treatment options, here are tips on preventing the condition. To prevent it, ensure that further exposure to the allergens does not occur, especially if you have had allergic conjunctivitis in the past.
- Avoid the use of eye make-up materials
- Do not use ocular (eye) medicines without medical advice. You may be allergic to some of them.
- Never share your contact lenses with others.
- Avoid rubbing the eye even if it itches intensely during conjunctivitis.
- Wash your clothes, linens, and napkins properly so that no allergens are released.
- Observe if your symptoms aggravate on exposure to your pet, as its hair or fur may be inducing or increasing your allergy.
- Learn and adapt proper hygienic methods for handling contact lenses.
Never try to follow allergic conjunctivitis treatment measures of your own, no matter how mild it seems. Consulting an eye specialist at the first sign of this condition is highly recommended, in order to prevent the infection from turning severe.