The best treatment is avoiding exposure to the cause or allergen. Unfortunately, this is not often practical. Discomfort can be relieved by applying cool compresses to the eyes or taking antihistamines by mouth (many of these are available over-the-counter).
If home-care measures do not help, treatment by the health care provider may be necessary. This may include:
* Antihistamine or anti-inflammatory drops that are placed into the eye
* Mild eye steroid preparations applied directly on the surface of the eye (for severe reactions)
* Eye drops that prevent certain white blood cells called mast cells from releasing histamine; these drops are given in combination with antihistamines for moderate to severe reactions
Treatment usually relieves the symptoms. However, the condition tends to recur if exposure to the offending agent continues.
There are no serious complications; persistent discomfort is common.
Calling Your Health Care Provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you experience allergic conjunctivitis and it is unresponsive to over-the-counter treatment.
Reviewed By : Paul B. Griggs, MD, Department of Ophthalmology, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.