With the increase in temperature and environmental dryness which comes with spring, a type of allergic conjunctivitis appears. This is one of the most common eye conditions. Although the majority of cases are not serious, this condition can cause a great deal of discomfort, which can be avoided with a simple and efficient treatment.

What is spring conjunctivitis ?

This is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a membrane which covers the white part of the eye and which produces a type of mucus that protects the surface. Occasionally this mucus becomes inflamed due to the presence of a virus or a certain type of spring allergy.

What causes spring conjunctivitis ?

Spring conjunctivitis is a hypersensitive reaction to the presence of substances in the eye such as dust, pollen, dust mites, environmental fungi and animal hair. Likewise, it can be associated with conditions such as hay fever, asthma or be brought on by chemical agents such as sunscreen or cosmetics. In the springtime, there is also an increase in the number of cases of giant papillary conjunctivitis due to the use of contact lenses.

What are the symptoms ?

The most common symptoms are a feeling of grittiness or foreign body sensation, burning, itchiness, watering of the eyes, inflammation of the eyelids, reddening of the eye and on occasion, photophobia, which is an abnormal intolerance to light. There is no pain and normally there is no objective decrease in vision. Moreover, allergic conjunctivitis is often accompanied by other symptoms such as typical spring catarrh, skin rash or nasal congestion.

Who is most affected ?

Anyone can be affected by spring conjunctivitis ; this is a highly contagious condition. However, the group most at risk are young people and in general patients with a history of asthma, hives, hay fever or a family history of atopy.

What is the treatment ?

The ophthalmologist must diagnose whether the symptoms that the patient has correspond to conjunctivitis or not and if they do have it, treatment is with eye drops or ophthalmological ointments.