Pinkeye (or conjunctivitis) from an allergy is not
contagious and often occurs during the same season, year after year. A
substance (allergen) causes a reaction in the lining of the eye
that makes the eye red, swollen, itchy, and teary. Spring and fall are the most
common times of the year for this kind of pinkeye to occur.
Pinkeye can be caused by many substances that come in contact with
the eye, such as eye medicines (especially those containing neomycin),
makeup, contact lens solution, pollens, or chemical fumes. Pinkeye caused by contact
with a substance may occur in one eye only. These eye symptoms may also bother
people who have other allergy-related problems, such as hay fever, asthma, and
skin allergies (eczema).
Symptoms of pinkeye caused by an allergy include:
- Redness, swelling, tearing, and
- White, stringy drainage.
You may have similar nose or throat allergy symptoms when you have
Allergic pinkeye is usually treated at home with cold compresses and
nonprescription eyedrops, such as naphazoline (Naphcon-A). If symptoms
continue, a visit to a doctor is needed. Severe cases of allergic pinkeye may
require treatment by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) or an allergy specialist.
William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
November 2, 2011