Allergic conjunctivitis is a disease that causes chronic inflammation of the mucous membranes of the eye. And this inflammation is caused by allergies to substances present in the environment, whether they are mites, pollens, molds or animal epithelia.
Even a food allergy can cause allergic conjunctivitis, they explain from the Spanish Society of Clinical Immunology, Allergology and Pediatric Asthma (SEICAP).
It is the most frequent allergic pathology among children and adolescents. And, although it can appear at any time of the year, it is usually more common for it to appear coinciding with changes in season or climate.
Conjunctivitis is often accompanied by rhinitis (inflammation of the mucosa of the nose), so that it is often referred to as rhinoconjunctivitis.
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis
The main symptoms of this disease are:
Itchy or burning eyes.
redness Just as the nose becomes congested in rhinitis, the eyes also become congested in conjunctivitis. That congestion manifests as redness, with dilated veins in the white of the eye. And this congestion can also lead to swollen eyelids.
Sensation of having a foreign body inside the eye.
Sensitivity to light or photophobia. It can cause very intense discomfort due to the light, which can become unbearable.
Confusion of symptoms in children
In the case of children, the itching causes the patient to rub his eyes with his finger, with his fist, sometimes under his glasses. It also causes the child to wink his eyes frequently and reflexively involuntarily, without realizing it. That is why sometimes he does not know how to recognize it, even if he is asked.
In fact, on many occasions these symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are confused with nervous tics, and children can be sent to a neurologist.
But from SEICAP they point out that:
“In children, it is much more common for these symptoms to be due to allergies than to a true tic, so you have to know how to recognize the symptoms to avoid unnecessary and ineffective treatments.”
These symptoms can also be confused with a possible visual capacity defect. In these cases, the oculists, after reviewing these children, and after verifying that visual acuity is normal, send the patient for an allergy study.
How to prevent allergic conjunctivitis
Having its origin in an allergy, the best way to prevent contact with the allergen is the time of year they are. How? From SEICAP they explain the best way to do it:
Minimize the presence of allergens in the home, whether they are dust mites, fungi or pets, if they have been identified as a cause of allergic conjunctivitis in the child.
To do this, it is best to avoid the use of carpets or rugs, reduce humidity and temperature, ventilate for the shortest time possible and try to be extremely clean.
Check the pollination calendars. If the cause of the allergy is pollens, the pollination rates and the seasons in which the original plants pollinate should be consulted to avoid, as far as possible, permanence or stay in places where these plants abound.
Wear sunglasses to avoid contact with possible allergens or even reduce photophobia.
And reduce the use of environmental pollutants such as air fresheners, aerosols, tobacco, etc.