Eye Allergy

Eye Allergies

Conjunctivitis (also called pink eye or madras eye) refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva (the outermost layer of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids). It is most commonly due to an infection (usually viral, but sometimes bacterial) or an allergic reaction.

Classification can be either by cause or by extent of the inflamed area.

By cause

 Allergic conjunctivitis

 Bacterial conjunctivitis

 Viral conjunctivitis

 Chemical conjunctivitis

 Neonatal conjunctivitis is often defined separately due to different organisms

By extent of involvement

Blepharoconjunctivitis is the dual combination of conjunctivitis with blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelids).

Keratoconjunctivitis is the combination of conjunctivitis and keratitis (corneal inflammation).

Episcleritis is an inflammatory condition that produces a similar appearance to conjunctivitis, but without discharge or tearing.

Signs and symptoms

Red eye (hyperaemia), irritation (chemosis) and watering (epiphora) of the eyes are symptoms common to all forms of conjunctivitis. However, the pupils should be normally reactive and the visual acuity normal.

Viral

Viral conjunctivitis is often associated with an infection of the upper respiratory tract, a common cold, and/or a sore throat. Its symptoms include watery discharge and variable itch. The infection usually begins with one eye, but may spread easily to the other.

Viral conjunctivitis, commonly known as “pink eye”, shows a fine, diffuse pinkness of the conjunctiva, which is easily mistaken for the ciliary injection of iritis, but there are usually corroborative signs on microscopy, particularly numerous lymphoid follicles on the tarsal conjunctiva, and sometimes a punctate keratitis.

Bacterial

Bacterial conjunctivitis due to common pyogenic (pus-producing) bacteria causes marked grittiness/irritation and a stringy, opaque, greyish or yellowish mucopurulent discharge that may cause the lids to stick together, especially after sleep. Another symptom that could be caused by bacterial conjunctivitis is severe crusting of the infected eye and the surrounding skin. However, contrary to popular belief, discharge is not essential to the diagnosis. Bacteria such as Chlamydia trachomatis or Moraxellacan cause a non-exudative but persistent conjunctivitis without much redness. The gritty and/or scratchy feeling is sometimes localized enough for patients to insist they must have a foreign body in the eye. The more acute pyogenic infections can be painful. Like viral conjunctivitis, it usually affects only one eye but may spread easily to the other eye. However, it is dormant in the eye for three days before the patient shows signs of symptoms.

Chemical

Chemical eye injury is due to either an acidic or alkali substance getting in the eye. Alkalis are typically worse than acidic burns. Mild burns will produce conjunctivitis while more severe burns may cause the cornea to turn white. Litmus paper is an easy way to rule out the diagnosis by verifying that the pH is within the normal range of 7.0—7.2. Large volumes of irrigation is the treatment of choice and should continue until the pH is 6—8. Local anaesthetic eye drops can be used to decrease the pain.

Irritant or toxic conjunctivitis show primarily marked redness. If due to splash injury, it is often present only in the lower conjunctival sac. With some chemicals, above all with caustic alkalis such as sodium hydroxide, there may be necrosis of the conjunctiva with a deceptively white eye due to vascular closure, followed by sloughing of the dead epithelium. This is likely to be associated with slit-lamp evidence of anterior uveitis.

Other

Inclusion conjunctivitis of the newborn (ICN) is a conjunctivitis that may be caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis, and may lead to acute, purulent conjunctivitis. However, it is usually self-healing.

Conjunctivitis is identified by irritation and redness of the conjunctiva. Except in obvious pyogenic or toxic/chemical conjunctivitis, a slit lamp (biomicroscope) is needed to have any confidence in the diagnosis. Examination of the tarsal conjunctiva is usually more diagnostic than the bulbar conjunctiva.

Symptoms

 Blurred vision

 Crusts that form on the eyelid overnight

 Eye pain

 Gritty feeling in the eyes

 Increased tearing

 Itching of the eye

 Redness in the eyes

 Sensitivity to light

 

Treatments

there are a number of homeopathic herb treatments that can be very successful in clearing up the problem of conjunctivitis due to allergies and other possible infections.  Some of the best remedies include Euphrasia, Aconite, Pulsatilla andSanicula.  These herbs can be purchased at your local health or homeopathic store or through numerous online sources.