Ocular allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are a common condition characterized by inflammation and itching of the eyes, caused by an allergic reaction to substances such as pollen, pet dander, or dust.
Symptoms of ocular allergies include:
- Itchy eyes
- Watery eyes
- Swelling of the eyelids
- A burning sensation in the eyes
There are two types of ocular allergies: seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergies are typically caused by pollen and occur at specific times of the year, while perennial allergies can occur year-round and are typically caused by indoor allergens such as pet dander or dust mites.
Ocular allergies are usually diagnosed by one of our optometrists during a comprehensive eye exam. Additional testing, such as a skin test or blood test, may be performed to identify the specific allergen causing the reaction.
Treatment for ocular allergies may include:
- Over-the-counter or prescription antihistamine eye drops
- Mast cell stabilizer eye drops
- Steroid eye drops
- Oral antihistamines or other medications
Preventing ocular allergies involves avoiding exposure to known allergens and practicing good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and avoiding touching your eyes with dirty hands. Keeping windows closed and using air conditioning can also help reduce exposure to outdoor allergens.
It is important to note that ocular allergies can be associated with other conditions such as asthma, eczema, and rhinitis and may be more severe in people with these conditions. If your symptoms are severe or persistent, it is important to seek medical attention as it may indicate a more serious condition such as vernal keratoconjunctivitis or atopic keratoconjunctivitis that require more aggressive treatment.