AllergyAllergic conjunctivitis (Latin name)
By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute
If you are allergic to pollen, house-dust mite, cats or other things, you can have symptoms affecting the eyes as well as symptoms affecting the airways. The intensity of the symptoms may depend on the seasons. Allergy of pollen from trees (birch, hazel, alder) is worst during April and May, while people allergic to pollen from grass have trouble during June and July – this is true for the Northern hemisphere. People allergic to house-dust mites can have symptoms all year round, while allergy of dog or cat appears after direct and sometimes indirect contact with the animals.
Allergy occurs frequently and many have symptoms that affect the eyes. It is estimated that 20-25 % of the adult population has allergy affecting the eyes. Usually, it is younger persons – less than 30 years old – who are struck, while people from older age groups may also be bothered. Frequently, the illness occurs in families with allergic illnesses (hay fever, asthma, eczema). If your parents or siblings have hay fever or asthma, the risk of developing allergy affecting the eyes is bigger.
It is always both eyes that are affected. Allergy in the eyes appears first and foremost by itching in the eyes. Red eyes and lacrimation together with swollen eyelids also occur. Some experience sensitivity to light and are bothered by sunlight. Most people with allergy affecting the eyes are also affected in the upper airways by fits of sneezing, itching and a running nose.
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