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Between the eyelid and the eye, there is a mucus membrane layer that protects components that aid in vision, called the conjunctivitis. When a foreign substance comes into contact with this layer, it may cause inflammation, irritation or an uncomfortable sensation referred to as allergic conjunctivitis, or more commonly called allergies. Although there are many types of allergies and allergens (the substance that causes the allergy), most can be broken into two different categories:

  • Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis – A chronic allergy that affects the individual all year round, PAC can be caused by substances such as chemicals, dust, or animal dander.
  • Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis – Also known as hay fever, SAC typically occurs during certain seasons and during the productions of substances like weeds or pollen.

Allergies can often be treated with over the counter medications, although any persistent, chronic problems should be taken seriously and treated by a professional Optometrist to avoid further damage to the eye. Some over the counter medications that aid in the process of treating allergies include:

  • Cold compressions
  • Steroid drops
  • Antihistamine drops
  • Vasoconstrictors
  • Oral antihistamines

Individuals can also do their best to completely avoid the allergens, although this may be impossible at times. OTC and prescription medications are most often successful at treating allergies, or at least relieving the discomfort associated with them.

Written by Tom Lampard

Dr. Lampard graduated from optometry at Pacific University in Oregon in 1981. He and his wife Lorraine have three grown children, all born and raised in Red Deer. Tom enjoys cycling, curling, cross country and downhill skiing, and golfing. He also keeps busy volunteering for the United Way, has been a chairman of the Alberta College of Optometrists, and director of the Alberta Association of Optometrists.

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