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Everything You Didn’t Know About Eye Allergies

For those of us that suffer from eye allergies, spring is less about melting snow and blossoming flowers so much as it’s about boxes of tissue and watery eyes.

When the snow melts, flowers begin to blossom, the neighbours begin cutting the grass, and the pollen drifts in the wind… allergies are triggered.

But, they’re just allergies, right?

A common phrase spoken by the toughest of us, but nonetheless aware of how torturous allergies can be. The best way to combat this discomfort is to better understand its causes, symptoms, and treatments. After all, if you’re going to battle it out with seasonal eye allergies, you need to know your enemy.

Therefore, we invite you to continue reading and perhaps learn a thing or two about eye allergies that you didn’t know before.

What is The Medical Term For Common Eye Allergies?

The medical term for the most common form of eye allergies is allergic conjunctivitis. This form of eye allergies is divided into two major subtypes; seasonal allergic conjunctivitis and perennial allergic conjunctivitis.


  • Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC), or also known as acute allergic conjunctivitis, is extremely common during allergy season. It is a short-term condition causing your eyelids to swell, itch, and burn.
  • Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC), aka chronic allergic conjunctivitis, is less common than SAC and can occur year round. It may cause your eyes to be sensitive to light, as well as burn and itch.


Where Did it Get Its Name?

Allergic conjunctivitis is named after a reaction caused by allergens involving the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is a clear layer of mucous membrane that overlies the eyes. Unfortunately, this membrane is highly susceptible to allergens.

How Common Are Eye Allergies?

According to a study, approximately 20% of the population suffers from allergic conditions. Of these 20%, the most common reactions are environmental allergies.

Allergic conjunctivitis can occur in anyone at any age. Like other allergies, there are no restrictions to it. With that being said, not everyone with allergic conjunctivitis will suffer from the same symptoms.

Symptoms experienced during an allergic reaction depend entirely on the body’s reaction to the allergen.

The Release of Histamine

When you come across an allergen and you have an allergic reaction, your immune system releases histamine to defend you.

Histamine boosts blood flow in the area of the body affected by the allergen. This causes inflammation, resulting in other chemicals in your immune system to step in and repair your body.

What Makes an Effective Treatment?

Typical treatments for eye allergies address the root causes of the discomfort. It’s rare to “cure” allergies, so symptom management is the focus of treatment.

Swollen, Itchy, Uncomfortable Eyes

  • Artificial tears flush away allergens and rinse the eye, reducing the reaction and improving symptoms
  • Antihistamines prevent histamine from causing inflammation, reducing symptoms
  • Severe cases of inflammation may be treated with corticosteroids (for short periods of time)

Watery Eyes

  • Stay indoors as much as possible to minimize exposure to allergens
  • Use artificial tears to flush allergens from the eye
  • Use an air purifier to remove dust and allergens from the air
  • Specialized eye drops that will improve comfort and prevent symptoms