When you have itchy, red eyes without other typical allergy symptoms, such as sneezing and nose problems, chances are you have allergic conjunctivitis. At AIR Care, Richard Herrscher, MD, and Maryam Saifi, MD, have helped many patients get relief from their symptoms and diminish or eliminate their allergic conjunctivitis with immunotherapy. If you’re ready to get relief from annoying, itchy eyes, call one of the offices in Dallas or Plano, Texas, or schedule an appointment online.
The conjunctiva is a clear membrane that covers the white part of your eyes. When it becomes inflamed with the condition called conjunctivitis, its blood vessels widen, making the membrane look red or pink.
Conjunctivitis, or pink eye, is a common bacterial or viral eye infection that’s extremely contagious. However, you can get another type of conjunctivitis called allergic conjunctivitis, or more simply, an eye allergy.
Eye allergies develop when your immune system overreacts and treats a harmless substance like an invading pathogen. Every time your eyes are exposed to that allergen, your immune system releases histamine and other biochemicals that cause an allergic reaction.
Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by airborne allergens, including dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander. Your eye allergy may last year-round or your symptoms may get worse at different times of the year.
Other types of allergies, such as seasonal allergies, are known for causing eye symptoms. However, other allergies also cause symptoms like sneezing and a runny or congested nose.
Allergic conjunctivitis is different because it only causes problems with your eyes. Eye allergy symptoms can be uncomfortable, but they don’t threaten your vision.
You’ll experience symptoms such as:
While allergic conjunctivitis is the most common eye allergy, you can develop different types with other symptoms. For example, medications can cause an eye allergy, leading to severe itching and conjunctivitis.
After reviewing your medical history and learning more about when your symptoms developed, Drs. Herrscher and Saifi may narrow down the potential allergens and help you create a plan to prevent future reaction by minimizing your exposure. However, to learn the exact allergen responsible for your conjunctivitis, you’ll need to have allergy testing.
Allergy testing is usually done using a skin prick test. After placing a small drop of the suspected allergens on your arm, your skin is gently pricked under each sample. Within a very short time, you’ll develop a slight skin reaction at the site of the substance causing your allergy.
Your treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. If you have mild allergic conjunctivitis, you may get enough symptom relief with artificial tears, antihistamines, and corticosteroid eye drops. When your symptoms are severe, or you can’t get relief from medications, Drs. Herrscher and Saifi may recommend immunotherapy.
If you struggle with red, itchy eyes, call AIR Care or schedule an appointment online.