Ocular allergy, more commonly known as eye allergy, occurs when the conjunctiva is irritated by something you are allergic to. The conjunctiva is the delicate membrane that covers the eye and the inside of the eyelid.
Allergic conjunctivitis starts when the immune system identifies an otherwise harmless substance as an allergen. Your immune system overreacts and produces antibodies which travel to cells that release chemicals that cause an allergic reaction. As a result, eyes can water, itch, hurt or become red or swollen.
Common causes are seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold spores. Symptoms worsen when individuals with seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, go outdoors on days with high pollen counts. Additionally, indoor allergens such as dust mites and pet dander can also cause allergies year-round.
It is important to note that although ocular allergy symptoms may be annoying, they actually pose little threat to your eyesight. Ocular allergies are also not contagious, unlike pink eye. However, red, itchy, burning and puffy eyes can be caused also by infections and other conditions that can threaten eyesight. Be sure to give us a call and request an appointment to come in and see us if you are unsure of your symptoms!