What are ocular allergies?
Ocular allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, represent an inflammatory reaction on the surface of the eye. This is the body’s overactive immune response to normally harmless triggers, known as allergens. Seasonal allergens may include outdoor pollens, and tend to be worse in the Spring and Fall. Click here to see the worst areas in the country for the current season. Chronic allergens may be indoors and year round, such as dust, molds, pet dander, and more. Ocular allergens may also include makeup, contact lenses or solutions, or even some eye drops.
What are the symptoms of ocular allergies?
Swollen, red, itchy, watery eyes are the hallmark findings of ocular allergies. Your doctor may also see microscopic bumps on the conjunctiva, known as papillae. Giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC) is a specific type of allergic conjunctivitis commonly noted in contact lens wearers.
How are ocular allergies treated?
Treatment should include removal of the offending allergen. Over the counter medications or prescription allergy drops may be used. In some cases, steroid eyedrops and/or oral anti-allergy medication may be added. Occasionally allergy testing is necessary.