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Allergic conjunctivitis, ocular allergy or eye allergy occurs when something you are allergic to irritates the conjunctiva, causing itchy, watering, red and swollen eye.

The most common causes of allergic conjunctivitis are seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold spores. People with seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) normally notice their symptoms worsen when they go outdoors on days with high pollen counts.

Indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander can also cause eye allergies year-round. If you suffer from this type of allergy, you may notice your symptoms worsen during certain activities such as cleaning your house or grooming a pet.

Eye allergy symptoms can be very annoying. Yet they pose little threat to eyesight other than temporary blurriness. Unlike conditions such as pink eye, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and is usually a temporary condition associated with seasonal allergies. Most people suffering from eye allergies have symptoms in both eyes.

Red, itchy, burning and puffy eyes can also be caused also by infections and other conditions that can threaten eyesight. The most common symptom occurs when the small blood vessels widen and the eyes become pink or red. Some people experience pain in one or both eyes. Other symptoms include swollen eyelids, a burning sensation, sensitivity to light and sore or tender eyes.

To provide proper treatment, your ophthalmologist will check to see if you have an eye infection or allergic conjunctivitis.

The first approach to managing your eye allergy symptoms is to avoid the allergens that trigger your symptoms. However, this isn’t always possible. That is when medications might be helpful.