Itchy Eyes (Allergies) And Redness (Conjuctivitis) In Children

ITCHY EYES (ALLERGIES) AND REDNESS (CONJUNCTIVITIS) IN CHILDREN

Itchy Eyes (Allergies)  And Redness (Conjuctivitis) In Children

Eye Allergies are conditions where the eyes react to an irritant or allergen. Eye allergies in children is usually caused by environmental air-borne allergens such as pollens, animal danders, dust or molds. It could also be associated with environmental changes, that is, it could be seasonal. Children tents to rub their eyes as a result of the discomfort that comes with an allergic reaction. Symptoms of allergy are itching, tearing, swelling in the eyes and redness.

What Is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis (also known as Pink Eyes) is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the transparent sheath lining the white part of the eyeball as well as inside the eyelids. Conjunctivitis can be caused by infections from bacteria or viruses with symptoms presented ranging from mild to severe redness and irritations in the affected eyes.

Some kinds of conjunctivitis are self-limiting, that is, they disappear on their own, while other kinds may need treatment. However, it is important to visit an eye clinic if you notice any sign of pink eye in your child. If it is a contagious one, breakout can sweep through and affect others around.

Fig. 1: Different Appearances of Conjunctivitis (Adam Debrowski, 2020).

Relationships Between Allergies and Conjunctivitis

 

Allergy

Conjunctivitis

Description

A type of pink eye that requires treatment

Inflammation of the conjunctiva generally

Causes

Environmental allergens (e.g., pollens, dust, or smoke), certain foods, insect bite, reaction to medications like penicillin

Bacteria, viruses or external irritants like smoke, dust, etc.

Symptoms

Tearing, itching, swollen eyes, redness, sneezing or coughing may also be presented

Redness, itching, tearing and swollen eyes. Pain or peppery sensation may sometimes be involved too

Common in…

Children, adults

Children, teens, adults

Type of Discharge

Watery

White pus, watery, mucopurulent

Eyes affected

Both

Initially one eye, then later the other eye

Contagious?

NO

YES

Occurrence

Seasonally when pollen counts are high

From trauma, infection, or the presence of an allergy

Treatment

Face shields and anti- allergic medications

Viral Conjunctivitis- usually resolves on its own in 4-7 days. OTC drugs can be used to manage symptoms.

Bacterial Conjunctivitis- Antibiotics eyedrops and ointments

Allergic Conjunctivitis- OTC antihistamines (both systemic and eyedrops) or anti-inflammatory eyedrops

Caused by Irritants or Chemicals- immediate profuse irrigation, warm compress, symptoms subside in few days.

Visit an optometrist or an ophthalmologist if chronic.

OTC = Over the Counter *

Prevention of Conjunctivitis

Below are general tips to practice preventing conjunctivitis:

  1. Regular hand wash
  2. Avoid sharing of skin products and makeups
  3. Avoid eye rubbing
  4. Use clean tissues to take dirt of the eyes
  5. For viral and bacterial conjunctivitis that are highly contagious, practicing of personal hygiene help to reduce the risk of contracting them
  6. Use of face shields during winter or harmattan seasons to limit exposure to environmental pollens and irritants.
  7. If you are a contact lens wearer, avoid sharing with someone else.

Conclusion

There is a factor of things that can result in redness, one of which could be from rubbing as a part of symptoms of an allergic reaction. Conjunctivitis can be because of a bacterial or viral infection, as well as due to allergies. Although, it can be difficult to differentiate sometimes, a careful observation of the symptoms and an evaluation of medical history can help reach a diagnosis of which one your child is having. It is important to visit an eye clinic if you notice any sign of pink eye in your child.

References

  1. Adam D. (2020). Types of Conjunctivitis: Allergic, Bacterial and Viral. https://www.allaboutvision.com/conditions/conjunctivitis-types.htm

 

 

 

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