Eye Allergy Overview

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Also called allergic conjunctivitis or ocular allergy, eye allergy occurs when something you are allergic to irritates the conjunctiva. This is the delicate membrane covering the eye and the inside of the eyelid. Allergic reactions can cause the eyes to water, itch, hurt or become red or swollen.
The most common causes of allergic conjunctivitis are seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold spores. People with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) normally notice their symptoms worsen when they go outdoors on days with high pollen counts.

Indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander can also cause eye allergies year-round. If you suffer from this type of allergy, you may notice your symptoms worsen during certain activities such as cleaning your house or grooming a pet.

Eye allergy symptoms can be very annoying. Yet they pose little threat to eyesight other than temporary blurriness. Unlike conditions such as pink eye, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.

Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis includes:

  • Saline eye drops
  • Cool compresses
  • Artificial tear eye drops
  • Antihistamine eye drops
  • Corticosteroids