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Types of Eye Allergies that May Be Irritating Your Eyes


Eye allergies can occur seasonally, annually, or year-round. It can be frustrating when your allergies are constantly disrupting your vision and irritating your eyes.

Our doctors at Nationwide Vision have some insight as to what seasonal allergies your symptoms might match, and what at home treatments you could try.

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6 Types of Eye Allergies

If your eye allergies occur often, you may have one of the following types of allergies. If your symptoms persist after you’ve tried our suggestions for at-home remedies, it might be time to see an eye doctor.

Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis

Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC) occurs seasonally in the spring, summer, or fall. A SAC reaction depends on the type of plant pollen in the air. The most common plant pollens that cause a SAC reaction are grass pollen and ragweed.


Symptoms of SAC can include:

  • Itching

  • Redness

  • Burning

  • Clear, watery discharge

  • Dark circles

  • Puffy eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis

Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC) is very similar to SAC, except that it occurs year-round. The cause of PAC is also different from SAC. Common causes of PAC are dust mites, mold, pet dander, and other household irritants. PAC exhibits mild symptoms similar to those of SAC.

Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis

Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs from irritation from using contact lenses. Specifically, irritation is caused when the proteins from the tears in your eyes collect on the surface of the lens. 


  • Itching

  • Redness

  • Lens Discomfort

  • Mucous discharge

Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis

Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis is an eye allergy that can have more severe symptoms than SAC or PAC. It most likely occurs year-round but can be significantly worsened as the seasons change. This type of allergy most commonly occurs in boys and young men. 75% of patients also have eczema or asthma.


  • Itching

  • Significant increase in tear production

  • Increase in mucus

  • Feeling that something is stuck in your eye (foreign body sensation)

  • Light sensitivity

Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis

Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis mostly occurs in older patients, especially in men who are prone to allergic dermatitis. Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis can occur year-round, and has similar symptoms to Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis. If left untreated, this allergy can cause scarring of the cornea due to irritants occurring for too long.


  • Severe itching

  • Burning

  • Redness

  • Significant increase in mucus production

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis is a more severe form of Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis and most commonly occurs when people wear contact lenses, specifically soft lenses. Irritation can be caused by the lenses themselves or the solution used to clean them. Other allergens, especially chronic allergies, can also contribute to the allergy as well as deposits of proteins of other substances, similar to contact allergic conjunctivitis.


Symptoms most commonly affect the inside of your eyelid.

  • Eyelid symptoms

    • Roughness

    • Redness

    • Swelling

    • Formation of bumps

  • Eyeball symptoms

    • Feeling that something is stuck in your eye

    • Redness

    • Itchiness

    • Excess mucus

    • Blurry vision

    • Feeling that your contact is moving

At-Home Remedies for Allergies

Most allergies have common treatments that should relieve any discomfort.

Common Treatments for Allergies

Common at-home treatments for allergies can include tear substitute eye drops, reducing exposure to indoor and outdoor allergens, depending on your allergy, and over-the-counterdecongestants and antihistamines.

In the specific cases of Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis, Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis, and Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis, you can treat them at home by taking a break from wearing your contacts as well as avoiding allergens. 

Prescription eyedrops are reliable relief for these types of allergies as well. If at-home remedies are not providing relief, talk to your eye doctor about treatments they can offer.

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Book Your Eye Exam at Nationwide Vision

Can’t find relief for your eye allergies at home? Make sure to book an appointment with your nearest Arizona eye specialist at Nationwide Vision.

Relief is just a call or click away at Nationwide Vision!