Allergic conjunctivitis won't go away
July 23, 2014 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Have you or anyone you know ever experienced allergic conjunctivitis that just won't quit?

I'm dealing with allergic conjunctivitis that began in late May. (What is that? It's like a blister! On each of my eyeballs!) I'd had it occasionally before -- but only very occasionally (a couple times a year) and it would almost always go away overnight.

It's now been going on for two months. I used naphazoline for a couple weeks, because that's what an ophthalmologist prescribed 15 years ago (before it was OTC) and it had always worked. When it was obvious that it wasn't working, I switched to ketotifen (Zaditor). After a week of THAT one not working, I saw an ophthalmologist. He confirmed that it's an allergy thing, and told me to keep taking the ketotifen, because it works better over time.

I've been on it for a month now, and no change. I emailed the doctor, but he's out of the office. One of his colleagues responded and told me that the only other option was prednisone drops, but that they have a risk of cataracts and increased eye pressure. (She obviously didn't read my medical record, because I already have elevated pressure and am considered at high risk for glaucoma, and I doubt my doctor would go for increasing it even further.)


1) Have you ever experienced allergic conjunctivitis for this long? If so, what did you do to treat it? Lubricant drops make the scratchiness go away for a while, but the relief is very temporary.
2) Have you ever received a treatment that wasn't ketotifen/Zaditor or prednisone? Are there alternatives that the doctor's sub didn't mention?

The fill-in doctor's advice was pro forma and uninformed since obviously didn't know the specifics of my case, so I'm going to touch base with regular doc when he's back in the office next week to see if there are any alternatives -- stronger drops, maybe. Meantime, I'm really, really tired of the discomfort and am hoping to find a remedy for the interim.

(I do take Zyrtec every day, by the way, but it's not helping either.)
posted by mudpuppie to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've had allergic conjunctivitis for like a month before. There was a wildfire nearby and ash was falling. Uhg.

I really liked Patanol eye drops. They are non-steroid and better for eye pressure. They are RX only and a bit pricy. It took longer for them to work compared to the steroid drops but have less risks.

I got mine from a walk-in clinic visit since it's pretty straightforward. I just said "I have allergic conjunctivitis it won't go away. Can I get some drops?" And he looked at my eyeballs and said "yeah."

Also. Don't scratch. Wear an eye mask at night if you do it when you're sleepy. Do you have a vacuum with an allergy filter? That helped me.

Edit: also no eye makeup if you wear any until it goes away.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:43 AM on July 23, 2014

Is it possible that it's related to sinus/ear issues?

The only time I had conjunctivitis, it was due to an infection in my sinuses that I thought had gone away. You might want to see a GP and get checked out.

In the meantime, you could try a steroid nose spray--in the US, there's one available OTC now. Zyrtec might not be enough at this point.
posted by inertia at 10:03 AM on July 23, 2014

I get it during the summer - it is very annoying. One thing that helps me is to run my HEPA air purifier when I'm at home. I still get a little irritation during the day, but having that respite from the pollen/whatever at home makes a big difference.
posted by winna at 10:12 AM on July 23, 2014

Best answer: Seconding Crystalinne that Patanol is the eyedrop of choice for allergies. Or the new version, Pataday, which is just double strength. Every other antihistamine eyedrop actualy irritates my eyes more than helps them.

I also use lots of moisturizing eyedrops. The generic version of Systane Ultra work wonders.

Adding Singulaire this year, to Allegra, has actually worked well enough that my vision didn't change to my summer prescription so I can wear my favorite glasses. (The inflammation in one eye is usually so bad that I have a different prescription for allergy season.)
posted by monopas at 11:33 AM on July 23, 2014

I take Zaditor daily for just that reason. It does seem to work better over time. But I also wonder if maybe you are still coming into contact with a particular allergen? I got allergic to my mascara a couple years ago, and nothing brought relief until I quit using it. Changing out pillows or using a different detergent might also help. I would definitely recommend trying to track down the source of your allergen (as well as using Zaditor or Patanol).
posted by Emera Gratia at 12:46 PM on July 23, 2014

Best answer: YES OMFG THIS IS THE WORST. I had (what turned out to be) allergic conjunctivitis for like two months once. That's how long it took me and three different doctors to figure out that it was allergic, and not caused by germs or bacteria or chlamydia (yep, it can cause pinkeye - the more you know!).

Nth-ing the recommendations for Patanol. The allergies this summer are awful and I'm needing to take Claritin, Allegra, Benadryl sometimes at night, AND a prescription nose spray (Astelin) and eyedrops (Patanol) just to keep them at bay. The nose spray is actually just as important as the eyedrops for helping with the eye symptoms, so I would definitely recommend asking your doctor about that possibility as well.

Also, my allergic conjunctivitis turned out to be caused by my conditioner. It took SO LONG to make the connection, because I'd shower in the morning, go through my day just fine, sleep, and then wake up with mysterious red eyes - during my sleep I guess I would get the conditioner remnants on my pillow and face and the small amount left was enough to irritate my eyes. What finally did it was that I went on a week-long trip and forgot my hair stuff - while on the trip my eye started to heal, and then when I got home it got immediately worse again the first morning I was back after having showered at home. Are there any new hair/face products you started using right around May? If there are, you might try taking them out from your routine for a week or so, and then adding them back one by one in to see if your symptoms are connected to their use.
posted by augustimagination at 12:49 PM on July 23, 2014

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