Allergic Conjunctivitis (red, itchy eyes)

Provided by: Megan Goebel, MD


Distinguishing between allergic, viral, and bacterial conjunctivitis (pink eye) can be a challenge. Exposure to a known allergen is often associated with eye itching, burning, tearing, and eyelid swelling. These symptoms typically occur in both eyes and resolve after the allergen is removed. Discharge is watery and clear in color. 

With allergies, you often will also have a runny nose, congestion, and sneezing. Treatment involves reducing allergen exposure when possible. Closing windows in the home and car during peak pollen season, as well as washing your face and changing clothes after being outdoors, is helpful. Keeping pets out of the bedroom and vacuuming is recommended. Dust mite-proof covers on the pillows and bedding are helpful. 

Cool compresses to the eye and drops, including an antihistamine, will provide relief. Many of these are now available OTC, including olopatadine and ketotifen. Your friendly allergists at Ohio ENT and Allergy Physicians are always happy to help with diagnosis and management!

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