Eye Allergies, also called Ocular Allergies or allergic conjunctivitis, occur when something you are allergic to irritates the conjunctiva, which is the delicate mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and the inside of the eyelid.
The most common causes of eye allergies are seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold spores. People with seasonal allergies like hay fever normally notice their symptoms worsen when they go outdoors on days with high pollen counts.
“It’s just like allergies anywhere else,” says Dr. Larry Malashock one of six optometrists at Malbar Vision. “You can get reactions underneath your eyelids that will react similar to how your sinuses react. It’s like when your nose itches, or your sinuses itch, you get the same thing underneath your eyelid.
“And there’s not much you can do except apply antihistamine drops or what are called mast cell stabilizer drops that just quiet it down. But it’s usually not a health concern, so most people just ignore it. But there are good anti-allergy drops out there.”
Causes can also include indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander. If you suffer from this type of allergy, you may notice your symptoms worsen during certain activities such as cleaning your house or grooming a pet.
Though the symptoms they cause can be annoying, as Dr. Malashock explains, they pose little threat to eyesight other than temporary blurriness. However, red, itchy, burning and puffy eyes can also be caused by infections and other conditions that do threaten eyesight. So, it’s smart to see your doctor if eye symptoms don’t get better with over-the-counter allergy remedies such as antihistamine drops.