Ocular Allergy

Ocular allergy, also called allergic conjunctivitis, is quite common. It occurs when the eyes react to something that irritates them (called an allergen). The eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen.

As a result, the eyelids and conjunctiva become red, swollen and itchy. The eyes can tear and burn. Unlike other kinds of conjunctivitis, eye allergies are not spread from person to person.

The most common eye allergy symptoms include:

  • red or swollen eyes
  • burning or itching 
  • watering or tearing 
  • clear discharge or crusting
  • sensitivity to light 

If accompanied by nasal allergies, you may also have a stuffy, itchy nose and sneezing. You can also have a headache, an itchy or sore throat, or cough.

Oftentimes, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is causing ocular allergy. There are many allergens in the air – both indoors and out – which can cause eye allergies. These allergens include:

  • pollen from grass, trees and ragweed
  • dust
  • pet dander
  • mold
  • smoke

Allergic reactions to perfume, cosmetics or drugs can also cause the eyes to have an allergic response. Some people may be allergic to the preservative chemicals in lubricating eye drops or prescribed eye drops. 

Sometimes, the eyes can react to other allergens that don’t necessarily come in direct contact with the eye. These can include specific foods or insect bites or stings.

Some people inherit eye allergies from their parents. You’re more likely to have allergies if both of your parents have them than if only one does.


**Image courtesy of aao.org

To provide proper treatment, Dr. Banik will first check to see if you have an eye infection or ocular allergy. She will use a slit-lamp microscope to check for signs of allergies, such as swollen blood vessels on the surface of the eye or tiny bumps on the inner surface of the eyelids.

Once diagnosed, Dr. Banik will prescribe treatment which is aporopriate for the type and level of allergic response.  Personalized treatment may include anti-allergy drops, steroid drops, oral allergy medications, as well as other lifetsyle changes which may help reduce the burden of allergens and toxins you may be exposed to.

Whether the practice of Rudrani Banik, MD is the first ophthalmology office you are visiting for eye treatment, or simply the last one, Dr. Banik will make sure she does everything in her power to find an effective treatment to help you see better and feel more comfortable.