Allergic Conjunctivitis Associated With Sinus
Qn: For many years, my eyes are constantly itchy and irritated. This is especially so at night when I am sleeping. For the last half a year, this is so serious that the skin around my eyes is peeling as the result of my vigorous rubbing.
I have sinus problem and the doctors I consulted believe that it is linked to this problem. I tried using inhalants to clear my nose at night but had since stopped, as they were not very effective. Can an operation on my nose address my sinus problem? Or are there other solutions? Also, can sinus problem cause me to feel tired and sleepy the next day despite having slept for at least seven hours?
Ans: Thank you very much for your email. From your eye symptoms, you are having this condition known as allergic conjunctivitis, which can be associated with eczema, allergic rhinitis and asthma. Diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis generally is made by taking a thorough history and by careful clinical observation. Often, patients with such conditions are not suitable for contact lens wear as it can aggravate the inflammation. If left untreated properly, chronic allergic eye conditions can result in complications to the cornea and the external eye surface and may affect your vision.
There are many ways of treating this condition, depending on the severity of the condition. It can help to control the allergy and relieve the symptoms. It ranges from anti-histamine eye-drops to corticosteroid eye drops. Eye lubricants are usually helpful too. Excessive rubbing can aggravate the condition and may cause other problems to the eye and surrounding tissue.
It would appear that you have both allergic conjunctivitis as well as nasal allergies. These causes would be consistent with the fact that you have had the above symptoms for many years. Allergies mean that your body reacts to inhalants or foods or both, triggering the symptoms of itch, runny nose and sneezing.
Individuals who have suffered from nasal allergies for years often tend to develop blockage of their sinuses or sinus infections, and this development will result in worsening of the symptoms. Significant nasal block would cause airway obstruction when you sleep and this condition is called obstructive sleep apnea. It could be a reason why you feel tired and sleepy in the morning despite having a proper night’s sleep.
Optimal control of your condition would require attention to treating your allergies and also assessing for sinus obstruction. You may control your allergies with a variety of anti-allergy medications. This is purely for symptom control. To control the root cause of the allergy, it would be best to identify the inhalants or foods triggering the allergy, and subsequently avoid or minimize contact with these triggers. An ENT doctor would be able to assess for sinus obstruction, and if indicated advise appropriate surgery to correct the obstruction.