Allergic conjunctivitis (eye allergy) is the most common allergy affecting the eyes.
This condition is caused by an allergic reaction in eyes to substances in the environment, such as pollen (trees, grasses and weeds), dust mites, pet dander (like cat, dog, horses etc.), cockroaches and molds. The term “Allergic conjunctivitis” includes both seasonal and year-round (perennial) forms of the disease.
Irritants such as cigarette smoke, strong odors or fumes are not necessarily allergens, but they can make symptoms worse.
Do your or your child have the following symptoms?
- Eye itching, redness, burning or tearing of the cunjunctivae.
If you experience persistent nasal/ sinus / eye/ ear symptoms or have nasal polyps, asthma or frequent sinus/ ear infections, you or your child may have allergies (hay fever). Our board-certified allergy/immunology specialists can help. In fact, early intervention in children may help prevent the development of asthma.
How can a board-certified allergist help?
The allergist helps by detailed history, physical examination and allergy skin scratch test. When symptoms are worse at only certain times of the year (seasonal allergic conjunctivitis) they are most likely due to pollens or outdoor molds. As a broad generalization, grasses are a problem in the spring and summer, trees during late winter and spring, molds during late summer, and weeds in the fall. However, these facts do not always apply to Idaho because of our unique weather conditions.
When symptoms occur year-round (perennial allergic conjunctivitis) they are usually due to dust mite debris, indoor molds or pet dander. For example, upholstered furniture, beds and carpets are dust mite havens.
Allergy testing to determine the "triggers."
Following the detailed history and physical examination, skin scratch tests will be ordered when necessary. The test consists of introducing small amounts of the suspected allergens into the skin, using a plastic needle dipped in the allergen “extract”. The results are available in 15-20 minutes. This allows us to identify what causes your symptoms. Learn more about allergy skin tests.
Feel better with treatment.
Once the triggers have been identified, a personalized treatment plan will be outlined with you. This can include the following:
- Avoidance strategies and lifestyle modifications
- Nasal corticosteroid or antihistamine sprays to reduce inflammation
- Oral antihistamines to relieve itching, sneezing & runny nose
- Decongestants to reduce nasal congestion
- Other medications
- Immunotherapy (allergy shots), only if it is correct for you
Immunotherapy, only if it is correct for you
With lifestyle modifications such as environmental control measures and medications, your allergy symptoms may improve. If not or if you do not like taking medications and believe in strengthening your immune system, allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be prescribed. To begin, you will receive injections of the allergens once or twice weekly and eventually, once monthly for three to five years.
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Our team of physicians and healthcare professionals at The Allergy Group are highly experienced and trained to provide you with the best care. We are committed to your personal healthcare.