It is not uncommon to see children with sore eyes and running noses coming to our clinic in the company of anxious parents and grandparents.
We need to understand what "Allergy" means?
Allergy is "Unusual", "Over Reaction" of body when exposed to "Certain Substances" in "Pre- Disposed" individuals. These allergy inciting molecules are called "Allergens". Allergens can enter the body through air that we breathe, food that we eat, medications that are administered through different routes, or come in touch with our skin.
The most logical treatment of allergy is to prevent allergens from entering into your system but that is not always possible as air borne allergens can not be filtered! There are billions of different molecules (organic and inorganic) present in the air along with bacteria, spores of fungi and bacteria, microscopic mites and their excreta etc. We, therefore, need to manage allergy somehow in this sea of allergens. Allergic manifestations in the eye are often associated with nasal, naso- bronchial or skin and food allergies.
Eye allergy produces symptoms of itching, burning sensation, foreign body sensation, watering form the eyes, discolouration (muddy eyes), light sensitivity (inability to open eyes in strong light), thick ropy discharge etc. The eyes are red, swollen at times, gelatinous deposits on the white of the eyes, thick mucous discharge (white in colour and stringy in constituency), some times cornea is also involved with ulceration, etc.
Environmental Management is as important as medication! Avoid dust as much as possible - vacuum cleaning of house, wet mopping, dusting with moist piece of cloth are useful. Avoid dusting of heavy drapery, curtains, carpets and rugs. Check for allergy to pets and keep a pet only after confirming for lack of allergy to its hair, excreta etc.
Relative Humidity of around 62% and a temperature around 24 degrees gives maximum comfort to the eyes. Avoid direct flow of air on to eyes. Use sunglasses to avoid UV light exposure, put on a cap with hood and do cold compresses to enhance effect of medicines. Lubricate eyes frequently and follow instructions of your doctor regarding medication. Steroid drops can be given under strict observation and as per instructions only.
A holistic approach is important in managing allergies as medical intervention works better with adjuvant environmental management.