Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis: symptoms and treatment

Allergic conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva (mucous membrane coating the white of the eye and the internal surface of the eyelids), caused by hypersensitivity to foreign substances.

Not only spring hay fever, allergic conjunctivitis also occurs in winter following a reaction to pollen, dust mites, domestic animal fur, soft particles or air pollution. Allergic conjunctivitis causes red eyes, incessant itching, copious tears and noticeable and bilateral photophobia, which are common symptoms.

Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis:

Itching is the most common and significant symptom of allergic conjunctivitis: it can last for a few seconds to hours or in extreme cases, even for several days.  Swelling of the eyelids, tearing and red and burning eyes might also develop. It often affects people with allergies such as seasonal rhinitis, hay fever, bronchial asthma, hives, atopic dermatitis and food and drink intolerance.

According to a scientific study, eye allergies affect between 6 and 30% of the population. Allergic conjunctivitis can be acute or chronic and, in 30 to 70% of cases, is associated with allergic rhinitis. Allergic conjunctivitis diagnosis is performed by an ophthalmologist.

We recommend

  • paying particular attention to domestic environments (dust mites, cat fur etc.);
  • keeping the bedroom well aired and remove difficult-to-clean  furniture which favour the accumulation of dust (curtains, rugs, carpets);
  • using air conditioning fitted with anti-pollen filters (regularly replaced);
  • keeping car windows closed and use air-conditioning with anti-pollen filters;
  • implementing preventive measures (using masks, tinted eyewear and instil artificial tears)

Allergic conjunctivitis can be treated with varying results

Allergic conjunctivitis treatment generally involves removal of the responsible allergen, with preventative measures (avoiding the countryside at certain times of the year) or by topical use of eye drops for allergic conjunctivitis.

Be sure to ask your ophthalmologist for advice.