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Allergic Conjunctivitis

Frequently itchy eye, swollen eye, watery eye, turbid eye discharge; in fact, these signs and symptoms may indicate Allergic Conjunctivitis.

However, finding yourself or people around who currently having these signs and symptoms: frequent eye itching, eye swelling, eye-watering and stringy eye discharge from time to time, when they start to irritate your visual ability, their effects may seem not to be severe as they usually disappear afterward. However, without proper treatment, eye itching can make you rub on them intensively causing hordeolum, corneal ulcer, infection, eyelid skin color change and crinkly appearance and may also eventually lead to other unexpected abnormalities.

What are the signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis?

In general, the allergic conjunctivitis causes itchiness, eye-stinginess with burning or pink and swollen conjunctiva. Symptoms can be various starting from mild to a severe degree or level. Furthermore, statistically, 30% of patients usually have the effects associated with allergic rhinitis on both eyes. 

Allergic conjunctivitis can be categorized as follows;

  1. Allergic conjunctivitis that causes only inflammation to the conjunctiva but doesn’t affect the cornea.
    • Acute allergic conjunctivitis: It occurs only within 24 hours, usually caused by allergens, such as cat fur.
    • Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis: It’s caused by weather, molds, spores from the trees, weeds and grass pollens which usually occurs in the same period each year.
    • Perennial allergic conjunctivitis: It occurs all year round, caused by allergens, such as dust mites, fur or fungi.

  2. Allergic conjunctivitis that causes an inflammation in both conjunctiva and cornea, painful small open sores might develop.
    • Vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC): It’s commonly found in men aged from 5-20, mostly found in their early 10s (11-13 years old). In fact, it occurs seasonally.
    • Atopic keratoconjunctivitis (ATC): It’s commonly found in adults aged from 40-50, usually comes and goes from time to time and also relates to family medical history, mostly associated with skin allergy and asthma.
    • Giant papillary conjunctivitis(GPC):  Mostly found in people who have been wearing contact lenses for a long time, or in the wrong way before having a condition of eye or ocular's surface cells changed.


Although an allergy won’t be completely cured, however, it can be improved by proper treatment as follows: 

  1. Avoid contacting allergens, foreign bodies, and chemical substances.
  2. Clean your eyes with clean or sterile water after contacting allergens.
  3. Wear glasses for protection.
  4. Change bed sheets frequently and use air purifier.
  5. Apply cold compression to decrease the swelling and itching.
  6. Always apply artificial eye drop (non-preservative)
  7. Apply anti-histamine and/or anti-inflammatory medicines as needed. (Ophthalmological consultation is suggested)
  8. Exercise frequently to promote immune system.

Dr. Kittikamol Vongpaisarnsin
Cornea and refractive specialist
Chief of Eye Clinic
Phyathai 3 Hospital

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