Q: What are the common symptoms of allergies?
Dr. Brown: The most common symptoms of eye allergies are itching at and around the eyes, tearing and noticeably red eyes, swollen eyelids, runny nose and sinus congestion.
Q: How do allergies directly affect the eyes?
Dr. Brown: Allergies directly affect the eyes by signs and symptoms of redness, tearing, itching and swollen eyelids. Itching can propagate or spread inflammation and make the allergies in your eyes worse.
Q: What is meant by the term allergic conjunctivitis? Is that the same as “pink eye”?
Dr. Brown: Allergic Conjunctivitis just simply means that you have inflammation in the tissues of your eyes that is caused by allergies. “Pink eye” is layman’s terms for conjunctivitis, however, it can have many different causes. It is only contagious if it is caused by a bacteria, so using “pink eye” can be misleading since there are multiple causes.
Q: Can allergies do permanent damage to my eyes?
Dr. Brown: If you are constantly rubbing your eyes then you can cause damage to the eyes, but that is only in extreme cases. If there is significant inflammation caused by the allergies that persist for long periods of time there can be damage done.
Q: What are the treatment options available for this condition?
Dr. Brown: Treatment options for allergies range from something as simple as remove the irritant, to cold compresses, to antihistamine eye drops, anti-inflammatory eye drops or in extreme cases, an oral antihistamine is also needed to control the condition.