Allergic conjuctivitis on the rise: Health experts

Conjunctivitis has two mild forms seasonal and perennial.

NEW DELHI: Health experts witnessed a rise in cases of allergic conjunctivitis among children and adults in the national capital. Health experts blamed recent dust storm and high pollution level as the major reasons for the rise in cases of conjunctivitis in the city. According to doctors, allergic conjunctivitis, a common reaction of the eyes to dust particles is a prevalent problem in the Delhi-NCR.

According to professor of ophthalmology, AIIMS, Dr Rohit Saxena, patients of allergic conjunctivitis has increased recently and children are more prone to the disease during this season. “Dust storms, high pollution levels and dry weather are factors, which lead to an increase in number of patients coming to us with red, stinging and burning eyes,” said Dr Saxena.

He advised that to protect one’s eyes, especially during this season when weather hot is combined with high pollution levels. “One should avoid long hours in sun, use protective eyewear, drink lots of water, wash eyes and consult a doctor if symptoms persist,” Dr Saxena added.

Confirming a rise in patients coming to the hospital with allergic conjunctivitis, opthalmologist at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Dr Ikeda Lal said, “The symptom in allergic eye disease is itching, which can be associated with redness and watering. While in viral conjunctivitis, patients complain of stickiness of the eyes, burning, irritation and redness. So, it is important to differentiate the two as the treatment is different.” Also allergic conjunctivitis is not infectious, he added.

Conjunctivitis has two mild forms — seasonal and perennial. The severe forms are vernal keratoconjunctivitis and atopic keratoconjunctivitis. Seasonal allergy is treatable with simple measures and in severe cases, with eye drops.

However spring catarrh or vernal keratoconjunctivitis has the potential to affect the ocular surface to an extent of permanent vision loss. Largely seen in kids during spring-summer season, this allergy is a dangerous one.

Dr Lal said, “Kids are especially affected with this allergy. Constant eye rubbing can lead to growth of keratoconus. Therefore, this habit needs to be replaced with instilling eye drops.”

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