Allergic Conjunctivitis: How Allergies Might Be Causing Your Pink Eye


Allergies are unfortunately a large part of everyday life for many. Whether it is seasonal, or topical, it leaves many of us victim to a host of symptoms from itchiness, eye redness and watering.  However, what many do not realize is that allergies can affect the eyes so much that it becomes a form of the dreaded pink eye. That’s right, conjunctivitis, or commonly known as pink eye, can actually be caused by allergies as well. The good news though, is that pink eye caused by allergies is not contagious, just very irritating.

While seasonal allergies can cause symptoms in correspondence to seasonal changes, other common topical allergy agents include: pollen, dust, mold, grass, weeds, and more. Understanding whether or not you suffer from seasonal or topical allergies can be a great tool to help avoid or reduce symptoms to those agents.

How can I tell if my pink eye is caused by allergies?

Because ocular infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or allergies, it is important to visit your optometrist so that they may evaluate which is the underlying cause of your conjunctivitis. However, it is also important to understand the basic complaints to alert yourself to see your eye doctor. The most common signs of allergic conjunctivitis include (1) :

·         Itching

·         Redness

·         Watering

·         Dryness – sensations of sandiness, or a foreign body

·         Swollen lids and lid margins

·         Light sensitivity

·         Blurred vision

While many of these may seem applicable to a number of culprits for pink eye, one of the most distinctive features of allergies is itchiness (1). And what’s worse is that with allergic conjunctivitis, when rubbing our eyes to relieve itchiness, it actually intensifies it. This is because the itching is a reaction to potent chemicals called histamines which our body releases in reaction to allergens (1). As we scratch and irritate the affected area, histamines are further released and cause the cycle of scratching and itching to continue.

What do I do if I have allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis treatment varies from a combination of antihistamine drops, steroids, antibiotics, and artificial tears. At Good Eye Optometry, Dr. Gozini and Dr. Pham are sensitive to the fact that in Brentwood, Los Angeles our patients suffer from not only natural allergens due to the lush environment, but also pollution, smoke, and dust due to city life. Based upon lifestyle, and level of allergic responses to environmental factors, individual drop regimens are created to most effectively approach each case. If you are suffering from allergies as the seasons are beginning to change once more, be sure to book your appointment today to see Dr. Gozini and Dr. Pham for help!