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Allergic Conjunctivitis

What is Allergic Conjunctivitis? 
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the eye has a reaction against an allergen (an allergy-causing substance) such as dust, dander or pollen. 


  • Red eyes 
  • Dilated vessels in the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the eye 
  • Itching or burning in the eyes 
  • Tearing (watery eyes) 
  • Puffy eyelids, especially in the morning 
  • Eye discharge 


  • Analysis if eye secretions or discharge under a microscope will show eosinophils, cells that proliferate during allergic reactions 
  • A positive skin test for suspected allergens 
  • Small, raised bumps on the inside of the eyelids called papillary conjunctivitis 


If the cause of the allergic reaction is identified, avoiding the allergen will solve the problem. Symptoms can be relieved by antihistamines, anti-allergic medications sold over the counter. Your doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops or steroid creams. 

When to Call for Help  

Call for an appointment with your healthcare provider if your child has symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis and if they don’t improve with over-the-counter treatments. 

At Hopkins Children’s, allergic conjunctivitis is treated by the division of Allergy & Immunology and by the division of Ophthalmology. 

External Links:

National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health) 

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology