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Allergic conjunctivitis: Management

Pedram Hamrah, MD
Reza Dana, MD, MPH, MSc
Section Editor
Jonathan Trobe, MD
Deputy Editor
Anna M Feldweg, MD


Allergic conjunctivitis is caused by airborne allergens contacting the eye, which leads to immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated local mast cell degranulation and allergic inflammation. It typically presents as bilateral ocular pruritus, redness, and watery discharge. This topic discusses the management of allergic conjunctivitis. The clinical manifestations, epidemiology, diagnosis, and differential diagnosis are reviewed separately. (See "Allergic conjunctivitis: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis".)

An overview of conjunctivitis and detailed reviews of other types of conjunctivitis are found elsewhere. (See "Conjunctivitis" and "Vernal keratoconjunctivitis" and "Atopic keratoconjunctivitis" and "Giant papillary conjunctivitis" and "Toxic conjunctivitis".)


Basic eye care — There are several general measures that are helpful to most patients with allergic conjunctivitis:

Patients should not rub their eyes because rubbing can cause mechanical mast cell degranulation and worsening of symptoms.

Cool compresses can help reduce eyelid and periorbital edema [1].

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Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Jan 26, 2016.
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