Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis

What is an allergy?
  An allergy is an exaggerated immune response to a relatively harmless foreign substance, referred to as an allergen. In people without allergies, the immune response that occurs following exposure to an allergen is controlled, and produces few if any symptoms. In people with allergies, activation of the immune response results in the release of inappropriate, high quantities of chemical mediators -- the most common is histamine. These mediators are responsible for the symptoms of allergic reactions. More in depth on ALLERGY and HISTAMINE
What is Allergic Conjunctivitis?
  Allergic conjunctivitis is one of the most common disorders of the eye. The most prominent symptom is itchy, watery eyes, and a red lining on the whites of the eyes (Conjunctiva). These symptoms may also be accompanied by large bumpy formations under the eyelid. Allergic conjunctivitis is often associated with other allergic symptoms such as hay fever, but sometimes only the eyes are affected. The term “allergic conjunctivitis” is often used to describe basic symptoms of an allergic response (red, itchy, and swollen eyes) to a foreign substance - allergen. While Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC) is the most common, several classifications of allergic conjunctivitis exist, they include:
Seasonal And Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis
Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis AKC
Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis GPC
Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis
Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis VKC
How is Allergic Conjunctivitis diagnosed?
The most common type of ocular allergy is seasonal and perennial (year round) allergic conjunctivitis. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (hay fever conjunctivitis), is the more common type accounting for the majority of allergic conjunctivitis cases. As its name suggests, it is related to specific pollens that spore during specific seasons. Symptoms generally include red,itchy, and watery eyes. People affected by hay fever and other seasonal allergies also experience symptoms involving the nose and throat. Perennial allergic conjunctivitis is a year-round allergic condition. These allergic responses are often related
to animal dander, dust, or other allergens that are present in the environment year round. Symptoms are similar to seasonal allergic conjunctivitis; however, they tend to be milder.   Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis generally occurs in May and June (grass pollen)
   Lubricants Decongestants Antihistamines Decongestant / Antihistamine combinations Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents (NSAIDs) Steroids. Your choice of therapy will depend on the intensity of the allergic response. Since histamine causes most of the common symptoms associated with allergic conjunctivitis, an antihistamine or histamine blocker are effective. Vasocon-A is an effective “over-the-counter”. If possible, you may want to identify and attempt to reduce exposure to the allergy causing
substance. In mild cases, an artificial lubricant HypoTears® or AquaSite may relieve symptoms by washing the allergen from the eye and providing relief to ocular irritation. See also "Treatment options for Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis”. Do Oral Antihistamines Provide Affective Relief? Orally ingested antihistamines such as Hismanal® (Janssen) and Seldane®
(Marion Merrell Dow) may partially relieve ocular symptoms. However, topical antihistamines may prove the most effective in relieving itch and swelling. Unlike oral medications, eye drops allow the medication to get directly to the affected eyes.

© nholland 2002