The most common types of Conjunctivitis (pt. 2 of 2)
There are four types of allergic conjunctivitis:
1. Seasonal and perennial conjunctivitis is the most frequent form of eye allergy
It is typically accompanied by rhinitis, i.e., runny nose. Seasonal conjunctivitis is related to pollen cycles of allogenic plants occurring usually in spring and summer. Perennial conjunctivitis, as its name indicates, is present all the year round. Perennial conjunctivitis is more commonly from mites or fungus in humid conditions. Perennial conjunctivitis is more common at the end of August and the beginning of September.
Treatment to relieve this type of conjunctivitis includes antihistamine medication, with topical mast cell stabilisers. Only in severe cases do we prescribe topical steroids. See a general ophthalmologist, who looks after patients with allergic eye disease, to advise. You may also need to see an allergist to determine which allergen causes your allergic conjunctivitis.
2. Vernal conjunctivitis is chronic bilateral allergic conjunctivitis
It usually affects just children under the age of ten years old. Around half of these children suffer an immediate reaction. They usually have a relative that has similar vernal conjunctivitis. Their symptoms are itchiness, redness and constant tearing. In the most severe cases, they can get a corneal ulcer and reduced vision.
Treatment is the same as seasonal conjunctivitis. Although common, vernal conjunctivitis is harder to control. By adolescence, this type of conjunctivitis usually improves and may even go away.
3. Atopic conjunctivitis is chronic conjunctivitis that affects patients aged 20-50
Almost half of them will also suffer from atopic dermatitis. Many of our patients at Clinica London also see the dermatologist, Dr Jennifer Crawley, for advice on atopic dermatitis. Their eye symptoms are the same as vernal conjunctivitis. Although they may be more severe. The cornea can be affected much more frequently and therefore their vision is much more at risk. At Clinica London the ophthalmologists, Laura Crawley, Jaheed Khan and Jane Olver, all work in close collaboration with Jennifer Crawley for patients who have both atopic dermatitis and atopic conjunctivitis.
4. Giant papillary conjunctivitis is an allergic conjunctivitis associated with contact lenses or ocular prostheses.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis looks like a little velvety layer of tissue underneath the eyelid. The best way of curing it is to stop wearing contact lenses or an ocular prosthesis. This isn’t always possible. So it has to be modulated with the antihistamine medication, or topical mast cell stabilisers. In severe cases even topical steroids under the ophthalmologist’s supervision.