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Allergic eye conditions

If your eyes are itching, tearing, the whites of the eyes look red or pink or you have a foreign body sensation in the eye, you may have eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (a thin membrane covering the white part of the eye) due to allergy.  

This common condition is frequently associated with nasal allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and sniffling, and it may also remind you of hay fever. Half of the people’s allergies are seasonal (e.g. hay fever in the pollen season). 

Allergic conjunctivitis, like other forms of allergies, is usually caused by hypersensitive response to so called “allergens”, something that is ordinarily harmless. There are thousands of known allergens in the world. In allergic conjunctivitis, the most typical ones are pollens, dust of animal origin, and medicinal and cosmetic products.  

Allergic conjunctivitis is quite common since the surface of your eyes is constantly exposed to allergens.

You should see a healthcare professional for further examination. To establish the diagnosis it may be necessary to do specific tests to find out the allergen behind the symptoms.

The condition should not cause you significant health problems. However, it can disturb your everyday life and worsen the quality of life. So the best thing would be to eliminate the cause (the allergen) in your environment. Unfortunately, this is not always possible and therefore it is necessary to relieve the symptoms with medication or desensitization. An eye drop therapy is one option to get better.

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis, or VKC, is a severe and recurrent allergic eye condition that mainly affects children (predominantly boys) and young adults.1,2

References

  1. Kumar S. Acta Ophthalmol 2009;87:133-47
  2. Leonardi A. Ophthalmol Ther 2013;2:73-88