Those itchy eyes could be due to allergic conjunctivitis

Those itchy eyes could be due to allergic conjunctivitis

Varying temperatures have certainly left many in the City with a sore throat and running nose. Cases of allergic conjunctivitis are also being seen in good numbers in the City, of late, say ophthalmologists.

Ophthalmologists say that they see close to 10 cases of allergic conjunctivitis in their out-patient department daily. Dropping temperatures, light drizzles and pollen grains are just a few causes, they explain.

Dr Ajantha Chakravarthy, consultant ophthalmologist, Manipal Hospitals, said that they see seven to eight cases every day. “This is typically characterised by itching and redness in the eyes. People could also have watery eyes and a running nose,” explained Chakravarthy. While in mild cases, the illness is self-limiting, the others are put on medication and prescribed drops, she added.

The allergens could be plenty, but it also depends on a person’s genetic pre-disposition, said Dr Arun Samprathi, founder, Samprathi Eye Hospital.

“It depends on a person’s genetic condition. One might be allergic to dust, house mites, pollen or even food,” he said. Even as allergic conjunctivitis is seen perennially, there is a spurt during the season, the ophthalmologist explained. Dr Samprathi said consuming packaged foods which contain several preservation chemicals could lead to the allergy.

He warned that even as the ailment was characterised by irritation, one must refrain from rubbing the eyes. “By constantly rubbing the eye, one might get ‘astigmatism’ (a defect in the eye or in the lens), changing the curvature of the corneas. It could also lead to Keratoconus, a degenerative disorder,” he said.

Prescribed medicines

Taking over-the-counter medicines could only complicate allergic conjunctivitis, he added. 

“Sometimes, people visit the eye specialist only once. Steroids are prescribed. The next time, they take the same prescription to the chemist to buy the medicine without consultation. Taking the same medicine could have adverse effects,” he warned.

As a precautionary measure, Dr Samprathi said one should identify the allergen, wear goggles while going outdoors and change bedspreads frequently, if bed mites are found to be the allergen.

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