Allergic Conjunctivitis: More Than Meets the Eye

Causing eye inflammation, allergic conjunctivitis is a prominent condition that often affects patients with seasonal allergies. A recent report suggests that as many as 70% of individuals who have allergic rhinitis also suffer with eye symptoms, and nearly 30% of children, as well.

The eye, being open to the outside world, frequently comes into contact with dust mites, pollen, animal dander, and mold spores. These are responsible for causing the allergic changes in the eye that present as:

  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Watery discharge

It’s important to note that irritants (e.g., smoke, chlorine) or infections may present with similar symptoms. Your doctor should examine you and take a history to determine the source of your eye symptoms. Importantly, some forms of allergic eye disease may be sight-threatening by causing ulcerations in the cornea (the outer layer forming the front of the eye). Severe springtime eye symptoms associated with tree pollen allergy, such as oak tree pollen, or persistent eye redness and itching associated with chronic eczema may be a clue to these more concerning forms of eye allergies.

Typical treatment of allergic conjunctivitis includes:

  • Oral antihistamines
  • Nasal steroid sprays (if nasal allergies are present with the eye symptoms)
  • Topical antihistamine drops
  • Allergen Immunotherapy or “allergy shots”

The best way to accurately diagnose the triggers of your seasonal or chronic eye symptoms is allergy skin testing. After we determine those triggers, our board-certified allergy and immunology specialists can plan and implement a treatment plan that will be effective in reducing symptoms and improving your quality of life.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, call our office today to set up an appointment. Call 803-973-7956.