Allergic Eye Diseases

Allergy is a frequently seen disease in the society and nearly 15 percent of people have one or several types of allergy. The eye often has tendency to the allergic diseases because of contact with environment. Eye allergies may cause burning, hurt, itch, gum, redness, getting watery, and sensibility to the light and visual disorders. In advanced allergy forms, stickiness may also occur in the white part of the eye.

The discomfort affects people’s performances; it increases the tendency to the infections and makes using contact lens difficult; so it is a permanent discomfort source.

Eye allergies are related to surface tissues of the eye. These are the transparent layers which cover eyelid skin, eyelids and the white surface of the eye, called tunic or cornea.

Five different eye allergies are determined

  • Seasonal and non-seasonal allergy conjunctivitis
  • Spring keratoconjunctivitis
  • Atopic keratoconjunctivitis
  • Giant papillary keratoconjunctivitis
  • Contact eye allergy

Seasonal Allergy Conjunctivitis

Seasonal allergy conjunctivitis (hay fever) forms nearly half of the eye allergies. It starts with itch, water, and burning in both eyes. The allergy in the nose generally occurs with these complaints. There comes up swelling in the eyelids, puffiness in the white layer of the eye, blister and redness. While pollens are generally the factors for seasonal allergy, dust in the house and animal waste are the factors for non-seasonal allergy.

Spring Keratoconjunctivitis

Spring keratoconjunctivitis is rarely seen, it is rather encountered in dry and hot parts of the world. It starts in spring and continues till the end of the summer. It is more frequent among children, young, especially males. In 75 percent of these patients, we may see atopic eczema, asthma, allergic rhinitis. Although it is not known what the allergenic substance is, it is thought to be pollens. The first complaint of the patients is intense itch. Then, they have rising sensibility to the light, burning, blurred vision and feeling something in the eye.

There follows it droopiness in the eyelid, rising white gum, redness and narrowing in the eye. Its first symptom is the developing blisters like paving-stones on the tunic covering upper eyelid. These blisters can also be seen near the colored part of the eye. In its advanced forms, ulcer may occur in the cornea. It generally lasts 5-10 years.

Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis

Atopic keratoconjunctivitis is a type of allergy that has the risk for blindness. It is seen mostly in adults with asthma, flu, atopic dermatitis, and food allergy. These diseases can be seen in the relatives of the patient and it may last years.

It starts like spring conjunctivitis and it creates a wound tissue. This tissue may degenerate the eyelid structure and cause stickiness inside the eyelids, and also it may make the eyelids turn inside and outside, and it may cause the eyelashes to prickle. The involvement in the cornea is like vessel formation and it may reduce the success of keratoplastic (transplantation of eye from a dead to the patient) that may be necessary later. And also these patients have more probability for herpes simplex, kerratoconus, and retina decollement and eyelid infection.

Giant Papillary Keratoconjunctivitis

In the past, giant papillary keratoconjctivitis was seen as an allergy to contact lenses, contact lens solutions, preservatives in these solutions, and eye vessels. It is less seen today.

Sometimes, allergic substances acquired on eye prosthesis, sutures, and contact lenses may cause such type of allergy. It starts with disharmony to contact lens usage and intense itch in the eye. There occurs a big blister under the eyelid called papillary. It may cause blurred vision and density in the cornea.

Contact Eye Allergy

Contact eye allergy may occur because of medicines, preservatives in the medicines and make-up products. In its later stages, it may cause obstruction in the lachrymal duct, scarring in the conjunctivitis and vascularization in the cornea.


The diagnosis of allergic eye diseases is determined according to the examinations and lab inspections. Many situations that cause redness in the eye may resemble eye allergy, so it requires eye examination to have the right diagnosis. In the examination, eyelids, conjunctivitis, the parts in which glands open, eyelashes, and cornea are examined carefully. Sometimes, it may require turning over the eyelids and examining the back surface.

Some microbial diseases, causeless infections, eyelid infections, eye symptoms of some skin diseases, dry eye disease, infections in cord and vessel layer, insect bites, and louses at the bottom of the eye may seem eye allergy. As diagnostic tests, it may be helpful to find some allergic substances in the eye and the tear, but the maximum information is provided by examination.

The Treatment

The most important thing in the treatment is to avoid the allergic substance as long as possible, if it can be determined. In aspects of comforting the complaints in the eye, cold application and artificial tear medicines may be useful. It is mostly needed for antihistaminic, vessel puckering, cell balancing, infection ceasing, and cortisone medicines.

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