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Eye Allergies

What Is Allergy Eyes?

It is a medical condition known as allergic conjunctivitis that occurs when allergens such as pollen, pet hair or dust mites irritate the clear layer of mucous membrane that surrounds the eye. Those who suffer from allergy eyes can experience any or all of the following symptoms: itching, redness, tearing, burning, swelling of the inner eyelids, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, a scratchy feeling or a sensation of something in the eye.

What Causes Allergy Eyes?

Pollen is the most common cause, and it is released into the air by trees, flowers, grasses and weeds primarily during the spring and fall. But allergens that cause itchy, watery eyes are found year round. These include pet hair, especially dander from cats, mold spores found in bathrooms and basements, dust mites and pollution.

If I Have Allergies, Do I Have Allergy Eyes?

Most people do. If you suffer from general allergy symptoms such as stuffy, itchy nose and sneezing, there's a good chance that your eyes will also be affected. Whether the reaction is immediate or delayed, it can be relieved with the right medication.

What Treatment Is Available?

Allergy medicines such as antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays are not designed to treat allergy eyes. Although non-prescription eye drops may temporarily relieve your symptoms, after three or four hours their effect tends to wear off and long term use may cause reddening of the eyes. Prescription allergy eye drops will likely treat allergy eyes more effective than any other treatment. Talk with your eyecare professional about whether a prescription eye drop may be right for you.