Allergic conjunctivitis is inflammation or irritation of the clear mucous membrane lining the inner eyelids and sclera. This lining is called the conjunctiva. Allergic conjunctivitis can be seasonal or year-long, is caused by external allergens, and is not contagious. The seasonal form of allergic conjunctivitis is more common and is associated with seasonal allergies that usually occur during the spring and summer months due to exposure to pollen, grass and other airborne allergens. The perennial form persists throughout the year and is generally triggered by indoor allergens such as animal dander, dust and mold spores. Common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include itchy eyes and eyelids, watery discharge from the eye, burning or foreign body sensation, redness, swollen eyelids and blurred vision. These eye symptoms are often accompanied by nasal symptoms.
The diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis is generally made clinically. Certain blood tests or skin tests may be required for exact diagnosis in some patients.
Treatment might include cold compresses, artificial tears and a variety of topical medications. Some patients may require ointments used in the treatment of eczema. Sometimes, medications by mouth may be needed in patients with severe involvement that includes the cornea. At Wilmer, this condition is treated by the Ocular Surface Diseases and Dry Eye Clinic