Allergic conjunctivitis is a condition that occurs when an allergen comes into contact with the eyes. An allergen can trigger an overreaction of the immune system which causes the release of histamine, along with other substances. Histamine causes a variety of symptoms in the eyes that can be uncomfortable and even disruptive to daily activities.
The Main Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis
The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis typically appear in both eyes soon after contact with an allergen. While these symptoms can vary from person to person, the main symptoms of the condition include:
- Eye redness, caused by swelling of the small blood vessels in the conjunctiva
- Itchiness, which can become worse with rubbing of the eyes
- Eye irritation (note that eye pain accompanied by redness, light sensitivity, and vision changes requires immediate medical attention)
- Swollen eyelids, caused by inflammation of the conjunctiva or frequent rubbing of the eyes
Seasonal vs. Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis occurs as a result of seasonal allergies, like hay fever. In cases of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, symptoms of the condition will only appear at certain types of year. In the summer months, for example, allergic conjunctivitis may occur as a result of an allergy to grass or weed pollen. In February and March, the condition can appear due to oak or other tree pollen allergies. People with seasonal allergies often experience other symptoms along with allergic conjunctivitis, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, and sneezing.
Perennial allergic conjunctivitis, on the other hand, occurs year-round. The allergens that cause perennial allergic conjunctivitis are therefore not related to certain seasons. Pet dander, mold, and dust mites are examples of allergens that may cause perennial allergic conjunctivitis.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, the skilled allergists at the Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology Associates of Tampa Bay can provide allergy testing and treatment to help you achieve relief. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment!