Allergic Eye Disease
This incorporates a broad spectrum of disease of varying severity. The types include:
(i) Allergic Conjunctivitis
- Most common type
- Caused by airborne allergens, eg. Pollen, Ryegrass
- Worse in warmer months
(ii) Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis
- Affects males more
- Tends to occur in younger age group and can improve as child gets older
(iii) Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis
- Atopy refers to allergic tendency. Some common atopic conditions include “eczema” and “hayfever”
- As the skin is present in close proximity to the eye, it can affect the eye
(iv) Drop Allergy
- All drop preparations can lead to toxicity and allergy. Examples include Antibiotic / antiviral drops, preservatives in drops.
- Itch – This is the cardinal symptom, but there are also some nonallergic eye conditions that can lead to itch
- Discharge – This can be watery or thick mucoid discharge
- Avoid allergen – Wear wrap-around sunglasses particularly in Spring/Summer on days with a high pollen reading
- Lubricants – Artificial Tears can dilute any allergen and help to wash it away
- Lubricant/Vasoconstrictors/Antihistamine Drops, e.g. NAPHCON A and ALBALON A. These lubricate while reducing redness and itch. Unlike steroid medication, they do not cause glaucoma or cataract. They can be used for mild symptoms.
- Antihistamines, e.g. Lomide
- Steroid Drops, e.g. FML, Predsol Minims, Maxidex, Prednefrin Forte, Flarex. Steroids are the most effective treatment for severe disease. However, prolonged use can lead to glaucoma and cataract. The goal of steroid treatment is to treat intensively initially to get disease under control and then taper rapidly.
- Mast Cell Stabilisers, e.g. Patanol, Zaditen, Antihistine Privine. These drops are used to help maintain control of the disease and prevent relapse once steroids have been used. They are used constantly, particularly during Spring and Summer when allergen exposure is maximal.
Your doctor will fashion a treatment protocol based on your diagnosis and its degree of severity.