Spring questions related to: “My eyes itch… as if I have sand in my eyes… I blink constantly… I have redness and burning in the inside of my eye, my eyelids are heavy, as if I can not open my eyes.”
The most common answer is: You probably have an eye allergy.
What is an eye allergy?
Allergens of a flowering nature stick to the conjunctiva of the eyeball and cause inflammation, swelling, redness and roughness of the tissue. If we rub the eyes, we rub the allergens deeper into the tissue and the allergic reaction is stronger.
How long does it take?
Eye allergies usually occur at the same time each year, in the spring. With the onset of summer, it calms down. Patients usually know when the allergy starts and with our help prevent it from occurring in time.
There are also year-round allergies, such as house dust mites, but they are less common and even less common in the eyes.
Should it be treated?
Mandatory. Allergies must be treated because chronic inflammation and irritation of the eyes can cause or trigger other eye conditions and diseases. The main treatment consists of rinsing the eyes profusely with water to remove allergens. Appropriate eye drops should be added to calm the immune response of the eye, such as corticosteroids (which are given only under the supervision of an ophthalmologist and under strictly controlled time) and mast cell stabilizers (which prevent the recurrence of the allergy after discontinuation of therapy).
Should I have an allergy test?
If the allergy does not affect the respiratory organs (breathing), no allergy test is needed. An allergy test can tell if we are allergic to the most common allergens in nature, but many of them are not covered by the test. Also, knowing which allergen we are allergic to only helps us to know when the plant is flowering and when to expect the allergy. It is practically very difficult to avoid the allergen.
Should tablets, sprays, etc. be taken?
For eye allergies, systemic therapy (tablets, inhalers) is usually not needed. If the allergic reaction in combination and strongly affects both the nose and the breathing, an allergist should be consulted and appropriate therapy added.
Does eye allergy have consequences?
If we do not rub our eyes and treat it, no.
BUT! Recent studies show a strong association between chronic eye allergies and the occurrence of keratoconus. Keratoconus is a disease of the cornea of the eye characterized by its weakening and conical protrusion. This leads to astigmatism (cylinder) scattering of lights and difficulty focusing especially at night. Keratoconus occurs in young people (under 20 years) and it is very important to diagnose and treat it in time.
Is there general prevention of eye allergies?
The most common predisposing factor is dry eyes. Dry eyes are sticky and sensitive to allergens, dust and all natural particles that stick to the conjunctiva and cause inflammation.
For home: Wash your eyes more often with water, especially after a stay in nature. Put the therapy we wrote. Symptoms may return by the second half of June and then disappear. Come see us next year before the symptoms start, around the beginning of March, or as early as February, to prevent the allergy from developing. It is not scary and leaves no consequences but it must be treated. You must not rub your eyes. Friction can cause damage to the cornea and conjunctiva. If you have difficulty concentrating at night or have light scattering around a light source, make a Pentacam appointment.