Millions of people experience an eye allergy, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, every year. The mucous membrane that covers the inside of the eyelids and the whites of the eyes is called the conjunctiva. When this membrane becomes irritated, the eyes can start to water, itch, ache, or turn red and swollen. Conjunctivitis can have various causes (such as bacterial and viral infections), but allergies account for 50% of these cases. Eye allergies can manifest on their own or in conjunction with nasal allergy symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose.
When a person has an allergy, their immune system interprets common airborne particles as enemies and generates various chemicals, including histamine, which trigger the classic symptoms of allergies, including itchy watery eyes. Eye allergies can be brought on by indoor and outdoor allergens. The most common indoor triggers include pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores, whereas the most common outdoor triggers include grass, trees, and weed pollens.
The most common eye allergy symptoms include redness, watery discharge, and itching of the eyes (typically both). Additional symptoms may include:
- Burning sensation in eyes
- Increased sensitivity to light
- Swelling of the eyelids
- Sneezing or runny nose
In most cases, both eyes are affected, although one eye may demonstrate worse symptoms than the other. Eye rubbing can make symptoms worse, so try to keep your hands away from your eyes as much as possible. Although eye allergies can be uncomfortable and interfere with your daily activities, they often do not damage your eyes permanently. However, there are rare issues related to atopic dermatitis and other illnesses that can impact vision.
A physician can diagnose an eye allergy by evaluating your symptoms and performing an eye examination. With the help of an allergist, skin tests or, when needed, blood tests can be conducted to diagnose the specific allergen causing any eye reactions.
After identifying the specific allergic causes of eye allergies, your Allergy Partners doctors can create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your individual triggers and needs.
Four Steps to Relief
Planning Your First Visit
Schedule an appointment at your local office and fill out our pre-registration and medical history forms to help minimize any wait time when you arrive.
Your First Visit
Your initial visit will last between two and three hours and consist of an initial consultation, evaluation, and comprehensive exam. We’ll create a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs.
Diagnostics and Testing
We may complete one or more tests to better understand the cause of your symptoms. Common tests include skin testing, pulmonary testing, and blood testing.
Following the evaluation and testing, we’ll provide a comprehensive diagnosis and implement a personalized treatment plan that will deliver relief.
Avoiding allergy triggers is the first line of defense against developing an allergic reaction in the eyes. Once skin testing has identified your triggers, you can take steps to reduce exposure and relieve symptoms. This may include:
- Staying indoors as much as possible during peak pollen and mold levels
- Taking a shower after being outside for extended periods
- Closing the windows in your home and vehicle and switching to air conditioning when allergen levels are high
- Frequently washing bedding and blankets
In addition, your Allergy Partners allergist may recommend certain medications to help ease and treat the symptoms of ocular allergies. Immunotherapy is a highly successful treatment that not only treats your symptoms but addresses the underlying cause of your allergies.
The Allergy Partners Difference
Our allergists are professionals in diagnosing, treating, and managing eye allergies. If you are exhibiting any symptoms that could indicate an eye allergy, we will take a thorough medical history, perform a physical exam, select, and perform tests to confirm your personal triggers. From there, we will create a detailed treatment plan to obtain and maintain long-lasting relief.