6 Tips to Relieve the Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis
The inflammation of the conjunctiva is called conjunctivitis. This is the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids, and also the white part of the eyeball. Several factors can trigger this, such as bacteria, viruses, and allergens. Today we’ll focus on expert advice on how to relieve the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
The symptoms of conjunctivitis can be very irritating, and they can affect people’s objective and subjective well-being. You can do many things to counter them, but some are more effective than others. Out of all of them, we have compiled the best strategies to relieve the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis and some advice in this regard.
6 tips to relieve the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis
As Johns Hopkins Medicine rightly points out, allergic conjunctivitis can be classified into two types: seasonal and perennial. The first is associated with certain seasons of the year, while the second occurs continuously.
1. Avoid potential allergens
As researchers point out, allergen avoidance is part of the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. The symptoms are triggered after interaction with substances that cause an exaggerated response in the body. They’re known as allergens, and the most common are mold, pollen, insect feces, animal dander, and dust.
Since the symptoms can persist while you’re exposed to the allergen, you can adopt a series of habits that will help you alleviate the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. There are many steps you can take, but the main ones are the following:
- Keep windows and doors closed
- Use air filters and air conditioners
- Prevent your pets from entering your room and lying on the sofas
- Wash your pets weekly
- Regularly wash rugs, curtains, sheets, and so on (and remove any leftovers to prevent allergen buildup)
If you take these factors into account, there won’t only be fewer symptoms, but they’ll also be less intense. Identifying the specific allergen is very helpful, as you can then implement appropriate measures to deal with it. Also, remember to wash your hands and face immediately after you have come into contact with an allergen.
2. Use compresses on the affected area
There is evidence that applying cold compresses for at least 5 minutes relieves the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. In principle, they reduce itching, as they cause conjunctival vasoconstriction and reduce hyperemia and edema. They’re a safe, effective, and fast method to alleviate the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, and the best thing is that it’s one of the most practical and affordable options.
3. Use artificial tears
Experts have found that applying artificial tears is helpful in creating a type of barrier, diluting various allergens, and clearing the ocular surface of many inflammatory elements. There are many options on the market, but, in general, they produce the same effect.
It’s recommended to use them an average of 3-4 times a day, and extend their use until the symptoms have completely disappeared. If you need a more permanent alternative, consider using ointments or gels.
4. Don’t rub your eyes
Although it may seem obvious, we have to mention that, in order to alleviate the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, you shouldn’t rub your eyes. Doing so only makes everything from irritation to inflammation worse.
In addition, you risk harming the eyeball, especially when you rub hard. Resist the temptation and whenever you want to do it, remember that you won’t get any relief afterwards, in fact it will be quite the opposite.
5. Start treatment
Perhaps the most effective way to relieve the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis is through medication. Ideally, you should do it under medical supervision, so that the specialist can determine the frequency, dose, and exact drug that you should use. Experts classify the following options within standard therapy:
- Mast cell stabilizers: Some examples are disodium cromoglycate, nedocromil, and lodoxamide. The first isn’t recommended for acute cases.
- Antihistamines: These include ketotifen, dual-acting drugs such as olapatadine, azelastine, epinastine, and bepostatin. If immediate relief is sought, it’s possible to resort to azelastine and epinastine first.
- Corticosteroids: One common medication is prednisolone, which is given for a short time during acute allergic reactions. If the condition is severe, oral steroids or a supratarsal injection of corticosteroids will be required too.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs) – such as ketorolac and diclofenac. Steroid-sparing agents such as cyclosporine A and tacrolimus are effective in more severe episodes.
Excessive use of corticosteroids can cause steroid-induced cataracts and glaucoma, so they should be used with caution. It’s for this reason that we suggest you consult a doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment for the symptoms and the severity of the episode.
6. Wearing sunglasses
When you have allergic conjunctivitis, light can disturb your ability to see, and it can even exacerbate some symptoms (such as irritability). For this reason, the best thing you can do is wear sunglasses.
Don’t restrict their use only to the outside; if you also notice improvements using them indoors, don’t hesitate to wear them. Keep in mind that they work as a barrier to prevent allergens from settling on the surface of the eyes.
If you still haven’t consulted an expert about conjunctivitis due to allergens, then we would encourage you to do so. It doesn’t matter if they’re sporadic or permanent episodes, a specialist can find the exact trigger to reduce your chances of suffering new episodes. They can also recommend specific therapies, such as immunotherapy sessions.It might interest you...
- Azari AA, Arabi A. Conjuntivitis: una revisión sistemática. J Oftálmica Vis Res . 2020;15(3):372-395. Publicado el 6 de agosto de 2020.
- Bilkhu PS, Wolffsohn JS, Naroo SA, Robertson L, Kennedy R. Effectiveness of nonpharmacologic treatments for acute seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Ophthalmology. 2014 Jan;121(1):72-78.
- Dupuis P, Prokopich CL, Hynes A, Kim H. A contemporary look at allergic conjunctivitis. Allergy Asthma Clin Immunol. 2020;16:5. Published 2020 Jan 21.
- Rathi VM, Murthy SI. Allergic conjunctivitis. Community Eye Health. 2017;30(99):S7-S10.