Allergic conjunctivitis (also known as eye allergy) occurs when something you’re allergic to irritates the conjunctiva.
This is a delicate membrane that covers the eye and the inside of the eyelid.
Symptoms occur because the immune system overreacts to an allergen and causes the release of histamine and other active substances from the mast cells (cells of the immune system).
These substances cause vasodilation, which leads to irritation of the nerve endings and increased tear secretion.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not the same as viral conjunctivitis, causes and symptoms are different.
Allergic conjunctivitis usually occurs on both sides, but in rare cases it can also be unilateral and affect only one eye.
Causes of allergic conjunctivitis
According to conventional medicine, allergic conjunctivitis is caused by allergens that are distributed in the air and come into contact with the eye.
Allergens that cause allergies to the eye can be present indoors and outdoors.
The most common allergens distributed in the air are:
- Pollen from trees and grasses
People sensitive to these allergens suffer from seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, the most common type of eye allergy.
The most common indoor allergens are:
- Hair of pets
Indoor allergens can cause symptoms and constant conjunctivitis throughout the year.
According to naturopathy, hygienism and blood type diet, the symptoms are not caused by these allergens, but by diet.
This is evidenced by the fact that after a change in diet, the patient may have contact with the allergens without developing symptoms.
Types of conjunctivitis
The main forms of allergic conjunctivitis are:
Acute allergic conjunctivitis . Acute allergic conjunctivitis is a reaction that occurs suddenly and occurs when a person comes into contact with a known allergen, for example, cat hair.
Symptoms can be severe, although they usually disappear within 24 hours of the allergen being eliminated.
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is a form of eye allergy that usually has mild symptoms but is persistent during the pollen season.
Seasonal allergens include:
- Tree pollen in spring
- Sweet grasses in summer
- Pollen of some weeds in autumn.
There are certain variations depending on the geographical location.
Spring conjunctivitis is a serious consequence of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.
It often occurs in adolescents and children and can occur at the same time every year, but passes again at the end of the season.
The symptoms can be very severe.
Year-round allergic conjunctivitis. Year-round allergic conjunctivitis is a mild chronic disorder that occurs year-round and is tied to environmental allergens such as:
- Dust mites
- Animal hair
Gigantopapillary conjunctivitis. Gigantopapillary conjunctivitis usually occurs in both eyes and affects wearers of soft contact lenses.
This condition can cause:
- Intolerance to contact lenses
- Abundant secretions
- Lesions and red growths on the lower eyelids.
Wearing the contact lenses should be avoided for a while.
The ophthalmologist may also recommend switching to contact lenses in a different way to reduce the risk of recurrence and may initiate cortisone-based therapy.
Contact conjunctivitis or blepharoconjunctivitis
Some people are sensitive to cosmetics, makeup, eye drops and other chemicals that come into contact with the conjunctiva.
The result is an allergic reaction and symptoms of conjunctivitis.
Under these circumstances, the skin under the eyelids may become inflamed and swell. In this case, the disease is called dermatoconjunctivitis.
What are the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis?
Most people with allergic conjunctivitis have problems with both eyes. Symptoms can appear quickly immediately after the eyes come into contact with the allergen.
In other cases, symptoms become noticeable after two to four days.
The following symptoms are typical of allergic conjunctivitis:
- The eyes become red/reddish – by far the most common symptom.
- Eye irritation is caused by dilated capillaries (small blood vessels) in the conjunctiva.
- Lacrimation – in response to the stimulus, the eye produces tear fluid that makes it appear shiny.
- Pain – some people have eye pain that can occur on both sides or on one side. If the eyes are severely reddened and painful, you should consult a doctor.
- A patient with aching and reddened eyes becomes sensitive to light (photophobia) and if vision impairment occurs, he should consult a doctor immediately.
- Itching – irritated eyes may itch. The itching can be aggravated by rubbing.
- Swollen eyes – the eyelids can swell if the conjunctiva becomes inflamed or if the sufferer rubs his eyes too often.
- Painfulness – the inflammation can cause a feeling of pain throughout the area.
- Burning – some people say they feel a burning sensation.
If you go to the sea in the months of July and August, you will be exposed to a lot of sun and wind. These are factors that can worsen the symptoms in the eyes in addition to seawater.
If the eyelids are reddened, cracked and/or dry, this is an indication that the patient is very likely to have contact (blepharoconjunctivitis).
Contact Conjunctivitis and gigantopapillary conjunctivitis are not seasonal, symptoms can occur at any time of the year.
Complications of allergic conjunctivitis
Seasonal and year-round conjunctivitis can be uncomfortable, but complications rarely occur.
Gigantopapillary conjunctivitis occasionally causes inflammation and ulceration on the cornea (keratitis), which can lead to permanent vision loss if left untreated.
Diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis
Your primary care doctor should be able to diagnose conjunctivitis by asking about symptoms and examining the eyes.
Natural remedies for allergic conjunctivitis
Below are some useful measures, regardless of the cause of allergic conjunctivitis:
- When using contact lenses: As a rule, one should not wear the lenses until the symptoms have passed and until 24 hours after using the last dose of eye drops or eye ointment.
- However, the doctor or ophthalmologist will tell you what type of eye drops contact lenses can be worn on.
- One should make an effort not to rub the eyes, as this can lead to a stronger inflammation.
- It helps wet the eyes with a cloth soaked in cold water to relieve symptoms.
- One should avoid the cause of the allergy if possible. If you suffer from seasonal conjunctivitis, you should try to stay indoors during the season of allergic rhinitis, especially during the day with wind and sun, because that’s when the pollen count outdoors is strongest.
- You should keep the windows closed and wear glasses when outdoors.
- You should not go to the sea or to the swimming pool, because this will make the situation worse.
Diet and nutrition for allergic conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis can pass if you change your diet. Above all, one should avoid all non-recommended foods.
Unfortunately, dietary habits are difficult to change because some foods act like a drug and lead to “withdrawal symptoms”, for example chocolate or sugars.
There are two types of diet that brought good results to patients:
The vegan diet and raw food are based on natural and preferably raw foods:
- Raw vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Potatoes, best cooked in steam.
The food combinations are very important to avoid slowing down digestion:
- One should not mix protein foods (legumes, seeds and nuts) with carbohydrates (potatoes).
- One should avoid eating fruits and vegetables together.
One should avoid sweets, pre-cooked products and proteins of animal origin:
- Milk and dairy products
- Eggs (according to Lezaeta you can occasionally eat eggs)
The digestion of these foods takes a very long time and causes rot and fermentation in the digestive tract.
According to the blood type diet, some foods can cause the symptoms.
There are foods that should always be avoided:
- Cereals (they belong to the grass family)
- Artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, sorbitol and xylitol (produced by the fermentation of grains), found in chewing gum, for example
- Milk and dairy products
- Fried and smoked foods.
In addition to these foods, every person should avoid certain foods based on blood type, for example:
- People with blood type 0 should avoid tea, strawberries, peanuts, etc.
- People with blood type A should eat red meat
- People with blood type B should avoid tomatoes.
Treatment of acute seasonal conjunctivitis and year-round conjunctivitis
Two main groups of eye drops are used:
- Eye drops with antihistamines
- Mastocyte stabilizers
It is important to apply the drops regularly to suppress symptoms until the cause of the allergy passes.
Some people find that one product helps better than the other.
If the eyelids are severely swollen, it may take a few days for the symptoms to completely pass.
Side effects of eye drops
Eye drops can lead to blurred vision.
After using eye drops, you should not drive a car immediately.
tablets One can take these medications to relieve the general symptoms of hay fever.
Antihistamines in the form of tablets can relieve eye symptoms, but are not as effective as eye drops.
The side effects are a problem for some people, especially:
Rarely cortisone-containing eye drops are used
Corticosteroids are optimal for relieving inflammation. However, they should only be used when other therapies fail.
They are usually used under the supervision of an ophthalmologist, as infections and other causes of conjunctivitis must be ruled out with certainty (steroids can make some eye conditions worse).
Cortisone tablets are taken only 3-5 days if the symptoms are particularly severe.
They work well, but should not be taken for a long time because of possible side effects.
Note: You should tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, as some treatments (including some eye drops) may not be used.
Treatment of gigantopapillary conjunctivitis
A problem with the contact lenses is the main cause of this disorder.
The treatment consists mainly in avoiding the contact lenses for a few months.
The hygiene of contact lenses should be improved or the type of contact lenses should be changed if symptoms occur.
Antihistamine-containing eye drops or mastocyte stabilizers (described above) can relieve symptoms.
If the disease is at an advanced stage, the ophthalmologist may prescribe cortisone-based medication.
Treatment of contact conjunctivitis or blepharoconjunctivitis
Treatment consists of avoiding the things that can cause a reaction.
If the cause is a cosmetic, you should wait until the symptoms have completely passed before trying another product.
Some cases are caused by allergies to eye drops, which are actually used for another eye condition.
Antihistamine-containing eye drops or mastocyte stabilizers do not work for this type of conjunctivitis. The doctor may therefore prescribe cortisone-containing eye drops to relieve symptoms.