Pollinosis. Allergic eye damage
Symptoms associated with lesions of the mucous membrane of the eyes are found in many allergic diseases. One of them is hay fever, a widespread seasonal allergic disease that is caused by plant pollen.
The complaints of hay fever are numerous and varied. The most typical manifestation of the disease is rhino-conjunctival syndrome: the simultaneous appearance of itching in the inner corners of the eyes, lacrimation, photophobia, edema of the eyelids, severe itching in the nasopharynx, attacks of painful sneezing with liquid, sometimes abundant discharge of mucus from the nose. Also, with seasonal rhinosinuitis, symptoms such as sensations of a foreign body in the eye, itching, and swelling often occur.
With allergies, the mucous membrane of the eye changes, becomes more vulnerable, therefore, an infection can overlap with allergic problems, and then the mucous discharge becomes purulent, i.e. purulent conjunctivitis occurs. Another disease associated with eye damage is year-round allergic rhino-conjunctivitis (with household sensitization) i.e. in case of reaction to house dust, house dust mites and animal epidermis.
Finding the reason
Household dust is a complex mixture of a wide variety of volatile particles. The nature of house dust varies from house to house. For example, someone has old carpeting and carpets on the walls, while another has a pet and upholstered furniture, a third has a century-old feather bed, and someone else has cockroaches and fish at home, which are fed with dry food, and on the wall mold from an ever-leaking pipe. All taken together makes up the bulk of house dust. With household allergies, eye discomfort is not the main and main symptom, but complements the entire clinic of manifestations in this disease.
Obviously, there are certain symptoms that we associate with allergies, such as nasal congestion, runny nose with watery discharge, frequent sneezing, watery eyes. For the doctor, they are the first clue to the diagnosis. However, there are many other diseases that have similar manifestations. That is why, in the event of such symptoms, it is imperative to consult a doctor.
If a person who has not had an allergy before has itching, redness, swelling, discharge from the eyes, and there are no other symptoms of an allergic nature, most likely it is not an allergy and you need to contact a therapist or ophthalmologist. If eye damage occurs on the background of allergies, then to an allergist. In addition to questioning, the doctor has several accurate and objective methods to confirm the diagnosis.
Skin tests are one of the most informative diagnostic tests for allergies. The essence of the method is that droplets containing allergens are applied to the skin of the forearm: house dust, pollen, animal hair and epidermis, as well as food allergens. Then, in the places where the droplets are located, the skin is slightly pierced or incisions (scarification) are applied, so that the solution with the allergen penetrates the skin. If there is an allergy to any substance, then in either case, redness and swelling form in the place where the allergen is present. The reaction develops within 15-20 minutes. Typically, such tests are carried out from the age of three.
There is another way to diagnose allergies – blood tests to detect specific antibodies to allergens. The reliability of this method is lower than skin testing, but it helps in diagnosis in the following cases: a) for children, if the child is afraid of a skin test; b) if there is a risk of a severe skin reaction to a skin test; c) if the person is taking antihistamines and some other medications that may affect the accuracy of the test; d) if there are serious skin problems. Accurate diagnosis of an allergic condition is very important for choosing the most effective treatment regimen and methods.
In addition to medicines that can reduce allergy symptoms, including those from the eyes, there is a method of allergen specific immunotherapy (ASIT). The patient is injected with drugs with hostile allergens in a gradually increasing concentration. As a result, the body’s resistance to these allergens increases. To achieve a lasting effect, 3-5 courses of therapy are carried out or one course before the season. Its effect on hay fever reaches 90%. ASIT therapy can be carried out in the form of injections or preparations in the form of oral solutions.
There are also such allergic manifestations as damage to the skin around the eyes, the so-called periorbital dermatitis. Then the skin around the eyes (the area of the upper and lower eyelids) turns red, dry skin, peeling and itching are noticeable. In rare cases, there is an isolated lesion of only the skin around the eyes, more often such manifestations are characteristic of food allergies. It is for an allergic manifestation that the main symptom is characteristic – itching of the skin. The reasons for such complaints can be, both with food allergies (mainly), and with contact allergies (external exposure to various substances, allergens).
It should be understood that skin lesions around the eyes or on other parts of the face may not always be due to allergies. I do not advise you to independently use various creams and ointments without finding out the reasons. If we talk about allergies, then allergic eye damage is part of the symptom complex of allergic disease in general. And here you need to treat not only the eyes, but the body as a whole. This is a general hypoallergenic nonspecific diet and adherence to a hypoallergenic lifestyle and an individual hypoallergenic diet for pollen allergy.
Recommendations for hay fever
If you have diagnosed hay fever, then you must adhere to the following recommendations:
2 weeks before the expected flowering of plants, it is necessary to use antiallergic nasal sprays and eye drops prescribed by a doctor to prevent severe reactions.
Adhere to the urban lifestyle, try not to leave the house on the street in the morning (until 11:00).
Refrain from trips out of town and walks in the forested area, keep the windows tightly closed, and, if necessary, put on a gauze mesh, periodically moistening it.
Do not forget to wear goggles and a light hat when going outside.
When returning, it is necessary to rinse the nose, preferably with sterile seawater preparations: Aqua Maris, Aqualor, Marimer. With a sore throat, Aquamaris throat will reduce the discomfort. For the eyes, artificial tear preparations (for example, artificial tear drops) are suitable. In this case, the tear film will be restored, the corneal epithelium will be less traumatized by the effect of pollen. Take a shower and wash your hair.
In case of strong manifestations, it is best to go on vacation to another climatic zone, where there is no “dangerous” plant or it does not bloom.
It must be remembered that not only pollen in the air is dangerous, but also some herbal medicines, cosmetics, herbal products (cross-allergy).
Recommendations for patients with household allergies to dust and house dust mites.
Daily wet cleaning of the house. Children with allergies should not be present when cleaning the house.
The most important point in creating hypoallergenic conditions is to create order in the bedroom. If patients with allergies spend 8 hours a day in an allergen-free atmosphere, all body systems – lungs, respiratory tract, immune system – will have a chance to rest and develop resistance in order to go to the outside world with renewed vigor the next day:
no soft chairs, fleecy carpets, blankets, curtains, soft toys;
nothing should be stored under the bed;
never let animals enter the bedroom;
pillows should be made of special hypoallergenic materials, no feathers and goose down. The same is true for blankets;
treat mattresses with acaricidal agents https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acaricide (special solutions for the destruction of dust mites);
refrain from flowers. You should not use cosmetics, perfumes, not only for the patient, but also for relatives and those around him.
Creating a low-allergenic life, careful fulfillment of doctor’s prescriptions will help to cope with this problem.