Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis causes red, watery eyes and itching. The common cause is allergy to pollen in hay fever season. Other less common causes such as allergy to house dust mites, cosmetics, and problems with contact lenses. Eye drops usually relieve the symptoms. The pain, the light hurt his eyes and reduced vision are not features of allergic conjunctivitis – tell your doctor if these or other worrisome symptoms develop.

On this page

  • What is conjunctivitis?
  • What causes conjunctivitis?
  • What causes allergic conjunctivitis?
  • What are the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis?
  • Are there any possible complications?
  • What is the treatment for allergic conjunctivitis?
  • What should I look for?
  • References


Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the thin "skin" that covers the white part of the eye and the inner eyelids.

Infection is the most common cause. Many bacteria and viruses can cause conjunctivitis.

Allergy is another common cause.

Irritant conjunctivitis occurs sometimes. For example, the conjunctiva can become red and inflamed after getting some shampoo in the eyes. Chlorine in swimming baths is a common cause conjunctivitis slightly irritating.

The rest of this leaflet is about conjunctivitis caused by allergies.

Allergy means that the immune system overreacts to something that causes inflammation. Causes include:

Seasonal conjunctivitis due to pollen and mold

Seasonal Conjunctivitis is when symptoms occur at the same time each year. Most cases are due to pollen and occur at the time of hay fever. Symptoms tend to last a couple of weeks per year. Grass pollens tend to cause symptoms in the early summer. Several other pollens and molds can cause symptoms later in the summer. Other symptoms of hay fever may also occur at the same time, such as a runny nose and sore throat.

Perennial conjunctivitis

This is a conjunctivitis which persists throughout the year. This is usually due to an allergy to house dust mites. Dust mite is a tiny insect-like creature that lives in each house. They live mainly in bedrooms and mattresses, under the dust. People with perennial conjunctivitis usually also have allergic perennial rhinitis causes symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose. Symptoms tend to worsen every morning when you wake up.

Allergies to animals

Contacting some animals can cause an attack of allergic conjunctivitis.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

This is rare. It is an inflammation of the conjunctiva lining the upper eyelid. It occurs in some people who have a small object in the eye – more commonly, a contact lens. It affects 1 in 100 contact lens wearers. The exact cause of the inflammation is unclear – is possibly an allergic reaction to debris trapped behind a lens or poor lens hygiene. Also sometimes develops after eye surgery.

Contact conjunctivitis

Some people are sensitized to cosmetics, makeup, eye drops or other chemicals which come into contact with the conjunctiva. This response causes and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. In this condition of the skin on the eyelids may also become inflamed. Then dermatoconjunctivitis flame contact.

  • Both eyes are affected and the symptoms tend to develop quickly.
  • The eyes are usually itchy, and the whites of the eyes look red or pink.
  • A burning sensation may occur, but the eyes are usually not painful.
  • The eyelids tend to swell.
  • The eyes water more than usual, but do not become too sticky as infectious conjunctivitis.
  • The vision is not affected.
  • In severe cases, the conjunctiva under the upper eyelids may swell and look lumpy.

Seasonal and perennial conjunctivitis may be unpleasant, but the complications are rare. Contact dermatoconjunctivitis giant papillary conjunctivitis and occasionally cause inflammation and ulceration of the cornea (keratitis), which could cause permanent vision loss if left untreated.

General measures

The following may be anything useful to the cause of allergic conjunctivitis:

  • If you wear contact lenses: in general, do not use the lenses until symptoms are gone, and for 24 hours after the last dose of any eye drops or ointment. However, your doctor or optometrist will advise whether you can use certain types of lenses with drops.
  • Try not to rub your eyes as this can cause more swelling.
  • Bathing the eyes with a washcloth soaked in cold water can relieve symptoms.
  • Avoid the cause of the allergy, if possible. For example, if you have seasonal conjunctivitis, then during the hay fever season try to stay indoors as much as possible, close windows, use wraparound sunglasses when outside, etc.

Treatment for seasonal conjunctivitis, perennial and related animals

In addition to the general measures described above:

  • No other treatment may be needed if symptoms are mild.
  • Eye drops that reduce the allergic reaction is often prescribed. Two main types of eye drops are used – antihistamine eye drops and eye drops mast cell stabilizer. (Mast cells and histamine are both involved in the allergic reaction. Eyedrops The actions of destabilization against histamine or mast cell resulting in the release of histamine.) There are several types and brands in each class of eye drops . The eye drops usually work well. You need to use regular drops to maintain distance symptoms until the cause of the allergy will. Some people find that a product works better than another. Therefore, if the first one does not work so well, a change to another can help. If eyelids are very swollen, it may take several days for the drops to relieve symptoms completely.
  • Antihistamine tablets. You can take these to relieve the general symptoms of hay fever. They can relieve eye symptoms, but usually do not work as well as eye drops to relieve eye symptoms. Side effects (mainly drowsiness) are a problem for some people taking antihistamine pills.
  • Drops of steroid eye rarely needed or used. Steroids are good for reducing inflammation. However, it should only be used if other treatments fail. Normally used only under the supervision of an eye specialist, as infections and other causes of conjunctivitis need to be definitively ruled out. (Steroids can make some other eye conditions worse.)
  • Steroid tablets are sometimes used for 3-5 days when symptoms are severe. They work well but the regular courses or are no longer recommended because of the problem of side effects with prolonged use.

Note: tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are pregnant or breast-feeding, as some treatments (including some eye drops) may not be advisable.

Treatment of giant papillary conjunctivitis

One problem with contact lenses is the main cause of this. Treatment is mainly to remove contact lenses until symptoms disappear. Lens hygiene improvement or a change in the type of lens can be advised once the symptoms are gone. Eye drops or antihistamine eye drops mast cell stabilizer (described above) may also help relieve symptoms.

Conjunctivitis treatment contact

The treatment is to avoid what caused the reaction. When caused by aesthetics, you should let symptoms go completely before trying an alternative product. Some cases are caused by an allergy to a particular eye drops used for other eye disease. In this situation, you may need the advice of an expert as to what alternative eye drops may be appropriate for the condition. General measures described above can help relieve your eyes until the symptoms disappear. Eye drops or antihistamine eye drops mast cell stabilizer (described above) do not work in this type of conjunctivitis.

Sometimes it is difficult for a doctor to know the difference between allergic and infectious conjunctivitis, especially in the era of hay fever when red and watery eyes are common. In addition, certain eye diseases may cause a red eye, and can be confusing at first for conjunctivitis. In particular, if only one eye is red, then it is very unlikely to be due to allergic conjunctivitis. Therefore, consult a doctor if symptoms do not settle within a few days. Also, see a doctor urgently if any of the following situations:

  • Symptoms of change (for example, the light starts to hurt your eyes).
  • If you have eye pain (mild pain rather than pain is usual with conjunctivitis).
  • Spots or blisters develop on the skin near the eye.
  • His vision is reduced.
  • The eye is very red – in particular, whether it is one-sided.