Millennium Post

Dust and pollution push allergic conjunctivitis cases in Delhi-NCR

New Delhi: The increase in mercury in summer times leads to an increase in allergic ailments and one of the routine occurrences is of conjunctivitis, a common reaction of the eyes to dust particles. Due to the escalating pollution levels, this problem seems to be present in the Delhi-NCR area all year round. The onset of monsoon is set to further aggravate the allergic problem.

"Number of patients coming with allergic conjunctivitis has significantly increased recently. Dust storm, high level of pollution and dry weather are the factors which have led to an increase in the number of patients coming with redness of eyes, with stinging and burning sensation," said Dr Rohit Saxena, Professor, Ophthalmology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) who further elaborated that Children are more prone to allergic conjunctivitis during this season.

"We are observing an increase in the number of patients coming with allergic conjunctivitis. The predominant symptom in allergic eye disease is itching which can be associated with redness and watering. Whereas, in viral conjunctivitis, patients usually complain of stickiness of the eyes, burning irritation and redness. So, it is very important to differentiate the two as the treatment is different and also allergic conjunctivitis is not infectious. Vernal-keratoconjunctivitis (VKC) is a serious condition may further lead to complex diseases like keratoconus or limbal deficiency which are dangerous to the ocular surface and may cause permanent vision loss in extreme cases," explained Dr Ikeda Lal, another seasoned Ophthalmologist at Delhi Eye Centre and Sri Ganga Ram Hospital.

The allergy can become a serious menace if the symptoms are overlooked and proper precautions are not followed. "Precaution should be taken in order to protect eyes, especially during this season when the weather is hot combined with high level of pollution. Avoid long hours in direct sun, use protective eyewear, drink lots of water, wash eyes and consult a doctor if symptoms persist," asserted Dr Saxena. Talking about the medical treatment of conjunctivitis, Dr Lal said, "Treatment is mostly medical, eye drops may need to be used for a prolonged period. Children are the worst-affected who keep on rubbing their eyes. Therefore, the habit of eye rubbing needs to be replaced with the habit of instilling eye drops."

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