Allergic Conjunctivitis

What is allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis is a condition of the eye in which an allergen, for example, pollen or animal hair, causes the eye to redden, itch and water/run. The conjunctiva is a film that covers the eyeball and the inside of the eye lids. Avoiding allergens (things that trigger allergic reactions) helps to prevent episodes of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. Artificial tears, cold compresses and antihistamines are useful in treating the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Most people recover from an episode of allergic conjunctivitis with no further problem.

Risks

Allergic conjunctivitis can affect people of all ages. It is most frequent in spring and summer.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms are redness, itching, mild swelling and watering of the eye. Usually both eyes are affected.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is made based on a patient's history and examination of the skin. A skin patch test to test for allergies to certain substances might be helpful to identify triggers of allergic conjunctivitis.

Treatment

Artificial tears and cooling objects over the eyes may help to reduce the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Antihistamine eye drops or tablets medications are also helpful in treating or avoiding symptoms.

Prevention

Avoiding things that trigger allergies can help prevent this condition.

Other names for allergic conjunctivitis

  • conjunctivitis allergica