Allergic Conjunctivitis/Eye Allergies

What is allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis, also known as ocular allergies or eye allergies, is a common eye condition that occurs in children. It occurs when dust, pollen, animal dander, or other allergens irritate the eyes.


What are the symptoms?

The most common symptoms are red, watery, itchy, and/or swollen eyes. The symptoms can vary from mild to severe. Children may rub their eyes, roll their eyes, or blink frequently to relieve the discomfort.


What is the treatment?

There are prescription and non-prescription treatment options. Using cool compresses and lubricating eye drops (also called artificial tears) can help reduce the allergic reaction. Over-the-counter anti-allergy eye drops can be used as needed. If your child won’t tolerate eye drops, oral anti-allergy medications can also provide relief. If the non-prescription treatment options aren’t providing relief, your doctor can prescribe stronger anti-allergy eye drops.


What can I do to prevent eye allergies?

Avoiding exposure to the allergen is the best way to prevent eye allergies. Frequent hand washing can wash away the allergens. Sometimes, wearing glasses or goggles when going outside can help if your child is allergic to pollen or other allergens in the environment.


Can this condition cause long-lasting damage?

Allergic conjunctivitis usually does not cause long-lasting damage. However, frequent eye rubbing and other eye infections can cause more long-lasting effects on vision. Ask your eye doctor if your child is at risk for more serious conditions.