Eye Allergies in Children

  • An eye allergy is otherwise known as allergic conjunctivitis. It is more common in children than in adults.
  • According to a recent epidemiological survey, about 25% of the population in India suffers from allergic conjunctivitis, out of which children contribute to a significant number.
  • Allergy is usually caused by pollen or allergens in the environment that make direct contact with the surface of eye and trigger inflammation which eventually results in symptoms.
  • In 2001, it was observed that around 2% among children ended up with permanent vision loss and around 8% of children ended with corneal blindness as a consequence of allergic conjunctivitis.

What causes the allergy?

  • There could be more than one cause for the eye allergy. Environmental pollution in India stands out to be a major contributor.
  • However, the allergy could be caused due to seasonal variations, geographic relocations, and secondary to allergic rhinitis and could be associated with asthma.
  • Some children develop an allergy as a result of using certain medications.
  • Children exposed to the dry environment such as in tropical regions like India are more vulnerable to this condition.

What are the symptoms associated with eye allergy?

Itching, redness and watery eyes are quite common symptoms associated with an eye allergy. In some cases, a yellow mucus component may also be found.

How is it diagnosed?

A complete eye examination with the help of a microscope will help the pediatric ophthalmologist diagnose this problem.

How is this condition treated?

  • This condition could be treated with eye drops and steroids.
  • Following protective measures; such as wearing protective glasses while going outdoors, cold compression and avoiding pollution and dust could be of great help.
  • In very severe conditions children may need injections in the inner surface of the eyelids.
  • If the allergy in children is not monitored and handled with vigilance, there could be some associated complications also.