PAEDIATRIC OPHTHALMOLOGY: RED EYES IN CHILDREN

Some people tend to suffer from atopic conditions like hay fever, asthma and eczema. When this affects the eyes, it results in Allergic Conjunctivitis.

This can be seasonal when associated with pollen in spring/summer or perennial if the underlying cause is an allergen that is present throughout the year like pet hair or house dust mites, as examples.

Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis:

The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis differ in people but for most it causes varying degrees of redness, itching and watering from the eyes.

In more severe forms it can lead to involvement of the cornea called vernal keratoconjunctivitis.

Treatment of red eyes in children:

Intermittent or less serious episodes can be treated with antihistaminic eye drops such as Olapatadine with tablets or syrup (Piriton) added in if there are other symptoms of hay fever.

More severe forms of allergic conjunctivitis may require steroid eyedrops, which are very effective but need to be monitored carefully as they can lead to side effects if used for a long period unsupervised.

It is important to avoid wearing contact lenses when the eyes are inflamed to avoid aggravating the condition.

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Mr Saurabh Jain

Saurabh Jain Is a Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon and Clinical Director of services at the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust.