Exposure to allergens such as pollen and mold spores may make your eyes become red, itchy, and watery. These are all symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis is an eye inflammation induced by allergens such as the ones listed above. The name comes from the membrane inside of your eyelids and the covering of your eyeball which is called conjunctiva. Allergic conjunctivitis is extremely common as the conjunctiva is very susceptible to allergens.
For information on conjunctivitis (pink eye), read through our article.
There are two main types of allergic conjunctivitis: acute allergic conjunctivitis and chronic allergic conjunctivitis.
People who have allergies are more likely to develop allergic conjunctivitis. A study shows that 30% of adults and 40% of children are affected by allergies.
Allergies can be passed down through generations of family. They affect people of all ages, though mostly common in children and young adults.
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include:
Although symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, it is possible these symptoms may be caused by another eye condition, or health related issue. As such, it is important to schedule an appointment with our optometrist to have the cause of your symptoms accurately diagnosed.
Our optometrist will examine your eyes and review any allergy history. Our optometrist may order an allergy skin test to determine which allergens your body reacts to.
A blood test may be required in order to determine if your body is producing adequate proteins and antibodies to protect itself against specific allergens.
When you are experiencing allergic conjunctivitis, your body is trying to defend itself against a harmful threat. This occurs when something triggers the release of histamine, forcing the body to produce the chemical to protect itself from the threat.
Allergic conjunctivitis can be caused by any allergens, such as:
Allergic conjunctivitis may also be caused by a reaction to certain medications or substances that make contact with the eyes. A common substance that causes allergic conjunctivitis is contact lens solution (especially when contaminated) and medicated eye drops.
Although it is extremely difficult to avoid all allergens that may cause allergic conjunctivitis, the best thing you can do is limit your exposure to them. For example, if you know that you are allergic to pollen, wear a face mask and protective eyewear when outside during allergy season.
Oral antihistamines are available over-the-counter that reduce or block histamine release, providing relief from allergic conjunctivitis. The downside of oral antihistamines is that they tend to dry out your eyes and are not as effective as topical antihistamines. Unfortunately you need a prescription for topical antihistamines.
If over-the-counter medications are not strong enough to provide you with the relief you seek, schedule a consultation with our optometrist. You may require a prescribed medication to ease your symptoms.
Our staff are equipped to provide both professional and friendly service for all your eye care needs.