Allergic conjunctivitis

normal eye picture

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis or pink eye in common term, is accordingly classified in terms of its causative factor. Specifically, these classifications are (a) microbial conjunctivitis, (b) toxic conjunctivitis, and lastly, (c) allergic conjunctivitis. The latter type will be the case in point in this article.

Allergic conjunctivitis is alternatively dubbed as immunologic conjunctivitis in the medical field. It is basically a hypersensitivity reaction that occurs due to two main reasons. More often than not, allergic conjunctivitis accompanies the occurrence of an allergic rhinitis or in layman’s term, hay fever. However, there are instances when allergic conjunctivitis occurs as an allergic response independent of any underlying factors.

Patient’s who get afflicted with allergic conjunctivitis has usually been exposed and have had allergic reactions to environmental stimuli such as dusts and pollens among others. Moreover, the disease is prevalent among young individuals and children. The most common presenting signs of allergic conjunctivitis are redness of the eyes and a recurring secretion of eye mucus that resembles a somewhat string like appearance.

The most common symptom of the disease on the other hand, is severe itching of the eye or pruritus in the eye area. In addition, there is another kind of conjunctivitis that is essentially related to allergic conjunctivitis. This type of conjunctivitis is referred to as vernal conjunctivitis. Vernal conjunctivitis frequently afflicts people during a warm weather, especially during the summer season; thus, the reason for the other term, seasonal conjunctivitis, to be coined for.

Is allergic conjunctivitis contagious?

This question has been around for like many years already due to some myths circulating regarding the alleged contagious nature of allergic conjunctivitis. However, let us tackle the simple things first. Now, we will discuss how we know that a disease is contagious. Well, a contagious disease is a disease that is communicable or can be transferred from one person to another. The transfer or transmission of the disease comes in various routes.

It may be through direct contact or droplet transmission among others. Now, talking about conjunctivitis, it can be contagious depending on its cause. If the cause is microbial in nature, meaning, it may be bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, it can be contagious. However, the contagious nature of conjunctivitis is only limited to these causes. Now, when talking specifically about allergic conjunctivitis, the disease is not contagious.

Allergic conjunctivitis Causes

At this juncture, we come to the part where we discuss what causes allergic conjunctivitis to take place. From the word itself, allergic conjunctivitis is generally caused by an allergic reaction to an allergen that has come in contact with the eyes. Basically, there are two helpful categorizations that can be employed when classifying the causative factors of allergic conjunctivitis. The first classification falls under the seasonal conjunctivitis as mentioned above.

In here, the main culprit is the weather. During these warm months (summer), the plants and flowers usually produces pollens. These pollens are one of the main factors that can trigger an allergic reaction when it comes in contact to the eyes. This allergic reaction will then subsequently cause the allergic conjunctivitis.

Moving on, the other causative classification is the direct contact of irritant substances to the eyes. For instance are cosmetic products and some eye drops among others. Moreover, there are times when a patient is specifically sensitive to these products, thereby aggravating allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis Symptoms

More often than not, the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis constitute the following clinical manifestations:

  • Pruritus or severe itching of the eye area,
  • Epiphora or the condition in which the eye produces too much tears,
  • Photophobia or the atypical fear or irritation of the eye when exposed to light,
  • Pain in the eye especially when scratching incessantly and vigorously,
  • Redness of the eye which may also be aggravated if the patient keeps on rubbing the eyes,
  • Disturbance to the clarity of normal vision which may be attributed to the mucus discharges,
  • Mucoid discharges brought about by constant rubbing,
  • The eyes may swell, and lastly;
  • The eyelids may crust

Allergic conjunctivitis Pictures

normal eye picture

Picture 1 : Normal eye


allergic conjunctivitis eye

Picture 2 : Conjunctivitis Eye is red and inflamed

allergic congunctivitis pictures

Picture 3 :  Allergic conjunctivitis Eye

Image source :

Allergic conjunctivitis Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology is the analysis of how a certain abnormality cause changes in the normal physiology or functioning of the human body. In the case of allergic conjunctivitis, an allergen in the form of dusts and pollens among others comes in contact with the eyes. This coming in contact will consequently precipitate a hypersensitivity or allergic reaction in the immune system. These events are primarily “overlooked” by the mast cells.

The one responsible for the activation of mast cells are the beta chemokines. When the immune system’s immunoglobulin E antigen specific response commences, this IgE will attach itself in the IgE present in the mast cell’s surface. From there, the binding of these two IgE will precipitate the release of histamine. After which, the prostaglandins, cytokines and platelet aggravating factor is consequently released. As a result, an inflammatory condition transpires. Subsequently, the clinical signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis will now then manifest itself.


Allergic conjunctivitis Treatment

The allergic conjunctivitis treatment involves the utilization of corticosteroids in the form of opthalmic preparations to subsequently reduce inflammation. If this method fails to achieve positive results, medications per orem (oral) may be instituted. Moreover, to promote comfort and alleviation of swelling, vasoconstrictors may be applied. Vasoconstrictors may come in cold compresses and pharmacologic therapies such as topical epinephrine.


Allergic conjunctivitis Medication

  1. Antihistamines
  2. NSAIDs
  3. Corticosteroids




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