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Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis describes allergy symptoms of the eyes, or "eye allergies".

Conjunctivitis refers to inflammation of the conjunctiva, the pink, moist tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids.

Allergic conjunctivitis is commonly triggered by pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and/or dust mites, the same substances (allergens) that can trigger an itchy and runny nose.

Conjunctivitis can also be caused by irritation from dust or smoke, or by an infection. Conjunctivitis that is due to an infection by bacteria or virus is commonly referred to as "pink eye". Viral conjunctivitis and bacterial conjunctivitis can spread easily from person to person, but allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.

It is important to determine whether the eye symptoms are caused by allergies, infection, or some other condition because the optimal treatment differs depending on the cause.

What causes allergic conjunctivitis?

What are the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis?

Eye symptoms which may be due to allergies include:

Keep in mind that rubbing the eyes releases more histamine and can worsen allergy symptoms.

How is allergic conjunctivities treated?

Allergic conjunctivitis may disappear completely, either when the allergy is treated with antihistamines, or when the allergen is removed. For instance, people with allergies to grass pollen may notice their eyes becoming less red and itchy after the end of grass pollen season.

Your healthcare provider may recommend the following medications:

What can I do to relieve symptoms?

The best defense against allergic conjunctivitis is to simply avoid contact with allergens that trigger your allergies, if possible. Other tips include: