Spring is just around the corner and with it comes the pollen! This means a lot more to people who suffer from allergic conjunctivitis than those lucky souls whose eyes remain clear and itch-free all year round. Sufferers of allergic conjunctivitis often resign themselves to the fact that every Spring, and on particularly windy days no matter what the season, they will suffer from red, itchy, watery and inflamed eyes that won’t return to normal until the pollen levels do.
What is allergic conjunctivitis?
Nobody’s really sure why some people have allergies to natural, everyday things, while others don’t, however there is some evidence that shows it may be hereditary. While there’s no clear science on this, most allergy specialists accept the theory that the immune system of allergy sufferers does too good of a job at repelling what it considers harmful substances. The immune system goes into overdrive, producing an antibody that causes allergy symptoms.
Allergic conjunctivitis is triggered when an allergen, typically pollen, but sometimes mold, dust mites, smoke, pollution or dander, comes into contact with the conjunctiva of the eye. The conjunctiva is that very fine layer of tissue that covers and protects the white of the eyes and also the inside of the eyelids. During an allergic episode the blood vessels of the conjunctiva swell, leading to the itching, burning and watering that sufferers know too well.
Alleviating the symptoms
Unfortunately there’s no one sure-fire way to cure allergic conjunctivitis, however there are several things you can do to alleviate the symptoms:
- Artificial tears. A very simple one – use lubricating eye drops available from any pharmacy to over-lubricate the eye and flush out the microscopic particles causing the allergy. You can also use a simple saline solution or rosewater to do the same job. Depending on the severity of your condition, you may need to flush your eyes several times throughout the day.
- Cold compress. Wrap some ice up in a clean tea towel, place it over your eyes, make a cup of tea and put your feet up for 10. The rest will do you good while the cold compress reduces the swelling and itching around your eyes.
- Avoid the allergen. Prevention is the best cure they say, but how do you avoid something that’s in the air you breath? With great difficulty, however there are a few things you could try:
- Keep yourself indoors with the windows shut, if possible, on windy days when pollen is about.
- Wash all your sheets, pillowcases and other linen twice a week in very hot water using a natural soap product to repel the dust mites.
- Vacuum your floors regularly
- Avoid chemicals including those used in harsh cleaning detergents, polishes, paints, some air fresheners, automotive products, perfumes and cosmetics.
- Check your home and workplace for corners and nooks where mold might grow, and if found, ask someone (not you – you have an allergy!), to remove it immediately.
- Vitamin D? While the jury’s still out on this one, there is some study into Vitamin D deficiency and the role it may play in allergies. Whether this turns out to be correct or not, getting some extra sun, during sun safe times and on pollen-free days, won’t hurt, and is a good way to top-up your vitamin D levels.
- Medication. Your doctor may prescribe antihistamine pills or eye drops which can reduce inflammation considerably and give your system a chance to recover from all that irritation. If your condition is particularly bad an allergy specialist can conduct tests and then give you a prescription for eye-drops that can be custom-made to suit your unique needs by a fully qualified compounding pharmacist.
If you have a compounding script for allergic conjunctivitis medication from your doctor or specialist, National Custom Compounding can make it up for you, often within 48 hours.
Visit our website to use our simple Online Prescription Ordering service and you won’t even have to leave the house (a handy thing if there’s pollen in the air!).
You can also drop your script off to one of our many partner pharmacies located throughout the country and they will manage the ordering process for you for no extra charge.
For more information contact us on 1300 731 755 or [email protected].