One symptom of environmental allergies is allergic conjunctivitis. This is a reaction in which the eyes become red and itchy, the eyelids swell and the eyes may sting, burn and
tear. The most common allergens to cause this are mold, pollen, animal dander and dust. An allergy to food or medication can cause allergic conjunctivitis as well.
Your doctor may prescribe steroid eye drops for your eye allergy, but he will probably recommend other treatments first. If the reaction is from a food or drug, you'll have to avoid eating the food and discontinue use of the medication. If it's from environmental allergens there are several things you can do to help alleviate your symptoms.
Use cold compresses to help reduce itching and swelling. You can try both prescription and over-the-counter remedies. Artificial tears are very useful for washing the allergen out of your eyes. You can also try antihistamines to work against your body's allergic reaction, or vasoconstrictors (redness relievers) to shrink the blood vessels of your eyes and reduce the redness. (Don't use vasoconstrictors for more than three to five days in a row.) In addition to these nonprescription drugs, your doctor may prescribe prescription allergy medications for your symptoms.
If your doctor does prescribe steroid eye drops to help treat the irritation, burning, redness and swelling from your eye allergies, it is very important that you use the drops under your doctor's careful guidance and supervision. A side effect of steroids is the reduction of the eye's ability to repair injury and fight infection. Because of this, using them for a long period of time can lead to cataracts or glaucoma, causing a loss of vision.