Whether you suffer from seasonal allergies, or have a laundry list of items that can cause an allergic reaction, anyone who experiences allergic reactions has experienced itchy, red, and watery eyes. While many would just consider this a symptom of their allergies, it’s actually referred to as allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the membrane that covers the inside of the eyelids and the eyeball, called the conjunctiva, become inflamed from an allergic reaction to substances like mold, pollen, dander, and other airborne allergens. It’s estimated that more than 20% of the US population suffers from allergic conjunctivitis.
Acute Allergic Conjunctivitis
When patients experience seasonal allergies, the eye irritation that comes with the other symptoms is referred to as acute allergic conjunctivitis. This type of inflammation usually occurs suddenly, and in response to encountering an allergen in the air. Chronic allergic conjunctivitis can occur year round in those with allergies to food, animal dander, or dust. Chronic sufferers may also experience sensitivity to light. Allergic conjunctivitis always occurs in patients who have preexisting allergies. Many times, patients who claim they have no allergies may be using contact lens solution or eye drops that contain a chemical that they are unaware that they are allergic to.
Allergy Skin Test in New Jersey
An allergy skin test is always recommended to patients who are experiencing allergic conjunctivitis-like symptoms. Once the patient is able to determine what is causing their allergic reactions, lifestyle changes such as using an indoor air purifier, changing perfumes, soaps, etc., and keeping windows closed are easy ways to control the amount of allergen that they are exposed to. Additional testing may include blood tests to ensure that the body is producing enough antibodies to protect against allergens, as well as a conjunctival tissue sample to examine white blood cell counts present. In more severe cases, we may recommend medication ranging from OTC antihistamine, anti-inflammatory eye drops, eye drops designed to clear and reduce congested blood vessels, and even steroid eye drops in the most severe cases.