Eye Allergies: Brief Version

What are eye allergies?

Eye allergies are an allergic reaction to an allergic substance on the eye. Eye allergies can cause your child's eyes to:

  • Itch (no pain).
  • Tear more.
  • Turn red or pink (no pus).
  • Swell (the eyelids).

Eye allergies that happen around the same time every year are caused by pollens from plants in the air. Allergies caused by pollen last about 4 to 6 weeks. Other kinds of allergies can be caused by pets (like cats), feathers, perfumes, or eye makeup.

How can I take care of my child?

Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Wash your child's face. Use a clean washcloth and cool water. This will clean any pollen off the eyelids.
  • Tell your child not to touch his eyes.
  • Your child should shower, shampoo, and change clothes after playing outside.
  • Use air conditioning or an air purifier if you can. This helps clean the pollen out of the air.
  • Use eyedrops prescribed by your doctor, if needed. Antihistamine eyedrops that you can buy without a prescription may help too.
  • If your child has hay fever, he also needs an oral antihistamine. You can buy Benadryl, Zyrtec, and Claritin without a prescription. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which one to use.

Call your child's doctor during office hours if:

  • Using a washcloth and an antihistamine do not make your child better in 2 or 3 days.
  • You have other concerns or questions.
Written by Barton D. Schmitt, MD, author of “My Child Is Sick”, American Academy of Pediatrics Books.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2009-06-22
Last reviewed: 2011-06-06
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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