Many people suffer symptoms from allergies that affect the eyes. These symptoms are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to some external stimulus, such as exposure to pollen, pet dander or dust. According the the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center, there are several types of eye allergies including:
Types of Eye Allergies
- Vernal keratoconjunctivitis: Characterized by hard bumps on the eyelid, vernal keratoconjunctivitis is rare and usually only affects people under 20 years of age. The symptoms, which may include intense itching and light sensitivity, mainly occur seasonally, but will sometimes persist throughout the year.
- Atopic keratoconjunctivitis: Symptoms include red, hard eyelids, burning, itching, excess tearing, and light sensitivity. If left untreated atopic keratoconjunctivitis can lead to more serious conditions including cataracts and keratoconus.
- Hayfever conjunctivitis: Also known as seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. This type is caused by allergens (mainly spores or pollen) that occur most often during particular times of the year. Symptoms usually include eyes that are watery, itchy, and red.
- Perennial allergic conjunctivitis: Caused by allergens, such as dust or animal dander, perennial allergic conjunctivitis can be present at all times of the year. Symptoms are similar to those of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.
- Contact allergic conjunctivitis: Itchy, red, uncomfortable eyes that can be caused by contact lenses or proteins in tears that irritate the eye by binding to the contact lens. In the most severe cases, contact lenses cannot be worn.
- Allergic Reactions to Medications: A variety of medications, commonly including antiviral drops, topical penicillin, and anesthetics, can cause symptoms of swelling, redness, intense itching. The easiest way to treat the symptoms is to stop using the medication that is causing the adverse reaction.
Eye Allergy Treatments
There are a variety of options for treating the symptoms of eye allergies including steroids, NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Agents), antihistamines, decongestants, and lubricants.
If you are suffering from some of the the symptoms mentioned above, please contact us by phone at (561) 433-5200 (Lake Worth, FL), (561) 734-5056 (Boynton Beach, FL), or (561) 433-5200 (Delray Beach, FL). If you prefer, appointments can be made online with one of our experienced eye doctors such as Wayne C. Barish, M.D. or Brad D. Simons, MD, PhD.