A woman treats her eyes for allergies.

The pollen is bursting from the plants, and you’re very stuffy and sneezy. But could your allergies also be affecting your eyes?

What is happening to your eyes?

When allergies affect your eyes, they cause a condition called allergic conjunctivitis. There are two types of allergic conjunctivitis: acute and chronic. Acute symptoms last less than four weeks, while chronic symptoms last four or more.

Acute allergic conjunctivitis occurs primarily during allergy season, and is triggered by allergens such as pollens and molds. Symptoms such as itching, burning, and watery eyes come on suddenly. Your eyes can also look red and swollen.

Chronic symptoms can occur year-round, and can be caused by dust mites, feathers, and animal dander. These symptoms, however, are usually milder than with acute allergies. They can also include burning and itching eyes, as well as light sensitivity. Your eyes could look leathery, dark, or a little red. You may also experience some discharge, too.

How do I avoid allergic conjunctivitis?

Pedro Cervantes, MD

If you want to avoid allergy-related eye problems, try to avoid exposure to the allergens that affect you. Stay inside during heavy pollen days. If driving, keep your windows shut and the air conditioning running to keep the air circulating. Use mattress and pillow covers to limit exposure to dust mites. Run air filters in your home to remove allergy-causing materials.

Also, avoid rubbing your eyes. Because the capillaries in your skin break down somewhat with allergic conjunctivitis, rubbing your eyes can cause a “raccoon eyes” effect. Instead, use a cold compress. This will help relieve the symptoms listed above, CEENTA Ophthalmologist Pedro Cervantes, MD, said.

How do I treat allergic conjunctivitis?

If you need medicine, you’ll need something like a topical antihistamine or steroids, Dr. Cervantes said. Medicines like oral antihistamines and allergy shots, while good for other allergy symptoms, typically don’t work for allergic conjunctivitis.

Whether your allergies cause issues with your nose or your eyes, CEENTA has doctors available to treat you. Call today to make an appointment.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Cervantes practices in our SouthPark and Steele Creek offices. Would you like to find an eye doctor or allergy specialist near you? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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