What Are the Signs of an Allergic Reaction in the Eye?

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  • Written By: Lainie Petersen
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2019
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Signs of allergic reaction in the eye include eye redness, irritation, and swelling. People who experience an allergic reaction in the eye may also find that their vision becomes blurred and their eyes may tear easily. While there are several conditions that might cause eyes to become red or even swollen, an allergic reaction is usually accompanied by an itching sensation. If itching is not present, the symptoms may be caused by another eye problem. In all cases, individuals who develop these symptoms should speak to their physician for proper diagnosis and treatment.

An allergic reaction in the eye can have several causes. Seasonal allergies often affect the eyes, and it is not unusual for an individual who suffers from hay fever to also complain of eye-related symptoms, such as redness, stinging, and swelling, along with the sneezing and congestion that characterize seasonal allergies. Hay fever sufferers may find that their eyes become bloodshot and that both their inner and outer eyelids also become red and irritated, particularly while they are outdoors.


Treating an allergic reaction in the eye is often assisted by first determining its cause. In addition to seasonal allergies, other triggers may include medications and cosmetics. If the patient and his doctor are unsure of the allergy trigger, the doctor may order a panel of allergy tests. Patients who regularly use eye makeup may likewise be instructed to stop using their cosmetics for several days to see if the symptoms subside. It the symptoms do subside, this as an indication that the allergic reaction in the eye is caused by one or more cosmetic items. Once the cause is determined, the patient can take steps to avoid contact with the allergy trigger or, in the case of seasonal allergies, can receive allergy shots.

Eye allergy sufferers may not need to use prescription drugs to treat their condition. Instead, they may be able to manage symptoms by using soothing eye rinses and applying cold compresses to their eyelids. Other treatments include over-the-counter oral antihistamines as well as eye drops developed for treating eye allergies. These treatments, however, are not for everyone, and decongestant eye drops, in particular, should not be used by people suffering from a variety of health conditions, including high blood pressure. In severe cases or in situations where over-the-counter antihistamines or eye drops are medically contraindicated, prescription antihistamines or eye drops may be used to control symptoms.



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