Allergic conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction on the surface of the eyes. This is an inflammation of the conjunctiva due to an allergy. Common allergens are pollen, dust, pet dander, smoke, mold, and air pollution. There are over 22 million people in the United States that suffer from allergy eyes. These allergies may be seasonal, in the spring and fall when pollen counts are at their highest, or may be year round.
The symptoms may include:
- itchy eyes
- watering eyes
- red eyes
- eyelid swelling
Sometimes skin around the eyes can become red and scaly. Many people have more severe symptoms during certain seasons, particularly the spring or fall. Both eyes are usually affected.
The first choice for treatment is to avoid the allergy-causing substance(s).
Cool compresses (cool moist washcloths) on your closed eyelids several times a day may help relieve the symptoms. Artificial tear drops may soothe the eyes and wash away allergy-causing particles from the surface of the eye.
Some people require antihistamine or anti-inflammatory pills, especially if they have other allergy symptoms. If you have only eye symptoms, eye drops alone may relieve your symptoms. Antihistamine and anti-inflammatory eye drops can both be used, some of them prescription strength. Some drops may need to be used daily to be effective, while others can be used only as needed.