Allergic conjunctivitis is the technical term for when allergies affect the eyes. When eyes become subjected to an allergen to which you are allergic, histamine and other mediators are released causing itching, redness, burning, and tearing of the conjunctivae. The conjunctivae are the thin membranes that line the eyelids and the exposed surface of the eyes. Learn more about the symptoms and treatment of allergic conjunctivitis below.
Types of Allergic Conjunctivitis
There are two primary types of allergic conjunctivitis. The first is seasonal, in which allergens such as grass, tree or weed pollens affect the eyes. This is the most common type of allergic conjunctivitis. The second type is perennial, which means that the condition occurs throughout the year. This could be due to allergens such as pet dander, dust mites, or molds that are present year round.
Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis can be annoying and troublesome, but they do not present a risk to your eyesight. There are many different eye conditions, including pink eye, that can lead to similar symptoms, and some can affect eyesight. If your symptoms are due to allergic conjunctivitis, it will affect both eyes simultaneously. The most common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are:
- Watery eyes or tearing
- Swelling of the eyelids
If you have these symptoms and they do not ease with over-the-counter eye drops, you should see an allergist to be tested and treated for allergies.
Treatment of Allergic Conjunctivitis
Allergic conjunctivitis is most often treated with over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications and eye drops. If your symptoms are severe, your doctor may recommend allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) to change how your immune system reacts to the trigger allergens. As with any allergy, avoidance and knowing which allergens are causing your symptoms are important. You can abstain from touching your eyes after coming into contact with allergens, limit your time outdoors during pollen seasons, and reduce some indoor allergens from your home by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
If you have been suffering from symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.