Symptoms of Allergies in the Eyes

There are a variety of allergic symptoms which manifest in the eyes and it’s important to be able to identify them in order to know what steps to take next.

Allergic reactions can cause a variety of symptoms in the eyes, sometimes in addition to sneezing or hives. If it’s a mild to moderate allergic reaction, it can usually be treated at home. If the symptoms don’t go away, please schedule an appointment right away with our office. If the symptoms in the eyes present with other severe manifestations such as difficulty breathing, throat closing up, or loss of consciousness, this is an anaphylactic allergic reaction and you must call emergency services right away.

The main symptoms from allergic reactions in the eyes, include:

  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Burning or stinging sensation
  • Itchiness or irritation
  • Acute red eye
  • Discharge from the eyes
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These symptoms will be discussed in greater depth as it is important to be able to identify typical symptoms in the eyes caused by allergies.

  • Swelling Around The Eyes
    People who experience swelling around the eye have inflammation or a build up of fluids that affects the eyelids and tissues surrounding the eye. This is a temporary condition and it differs from natural bags under the eyes caused by the aging process. Periorbital edema is the medical terminology that is used by eye doctors to describe the swelling of the skin around the eyes. If you are in doubt about what caused the swelling around the eyes and ruled out this symptom being a result of an allergic reaction that can be treated at home, it is advised that you book an appointment with our office immediately to get the best possible care. It is possible that the swelling around the eyes is caused by an infection which needs to be treated by your eye doctor right away. If you have swelling around your eyes along with fever and it’s painful to move the affected eye, please call our office to book an immediate appointment. If an appointment is not available, you will be guided where to get medical assistance right away. This could be an infection of the eye socket, known as orbital cellulitis, which must be treated immediately and properly in order to prevent serious complications.
  • Acute Red Eyes
    There could be many different causes for red eyes, including allergies. If red eyes present with other allergic symptoms, especially itchy eyes, then it’s very possible that the cause is from allergies. Other causes could include exhaustion, overwearing contact lenses, pink eye or other infections. There are more serious eye conditions which can cause red eyes such as uveitis or glaucoma but these often have a much more severe appearance than an allergic reaction. If the home treatments for allergies are not making the redness go away, please book an appointment with your eye doctor who can diagnose and treat the underlying cause.
  • Itchy Or Irritated Eyes
    If your eyes are red and itchy, you might want to rub them or wash them to relieve yourself from the itchiness. Itchiness in the eyes is a very characteristic symptom of allergies. It could be caused by other things such as a bacterial infection but it’s a very prominent symptom of an allergic reaction. There could also be general irritation with a burning or stinging sensation. If you do not find comfort with the home remedies, it is recommended that you book an appointment with our office. If the cause turns out to be a bacterial infection, your eye doctor can prescribe antibiotics to treat it properly.
  • Discharge
    In an allergic reaction, there could be a watery or stringy discharge from the eyes. It is usually in both eyes, and not contagious in contrast to viral or bacterial infections.
Prevention and Treatment

Prevention and Treatment

The only way to prevent allergic reactions is if you identify the cause of the allergies and do your best to avoid the trigger. There are great treatment options which can be used at home:
  • Cold compress
  • Artificial tears
  • Eye drops with antihistamine

Common Questions

Periorbital swelling is a medical term for swelling around the eyes which is a temporary condition. This is different from bags which form under the eyes which is a natural part of the aging process. Periorbital swelling could occur in one or both eyes and it can be a gradual symptom which is considered to be chronic or it can happen suddenly, otherwise known as acute. There are various causes of swelling around the eyes, including allergies, but they all result from an excess build up of fluids.
Both pink eye and allergies can cause redness in the eyes. A very characteristic symptom in the eyes that is typical for an allergic reaction is itchiness. Allergies can also present with a mild stringy or watery discharge from the eyes. In contrast, pink eye is an infection that causes more significant discharge from the eyes and itchiness is not usually the main complaint in pink eye.
Eye doctors are highly trained experts who handle issues affecting the human eye. They can identify the cause of your eye allergies and prescribe medication to help reduce your symptoms, such as Antihistamine drops if you have a pollen allergy. One common misconception about eye allergies is that your oral antihistamine allergy medication will treat your symptoms. While sometimes they may be mildly effective, they can also cause the opposite effect and worsen your symptoms. If you are experiencing itchy or watery eyes from an eye allergy we recommend scheduling an appointment. Our optometrists at Amplify EyeCare Manhattan are happy to help you find relief for your eye allergy symptoms.
Symptoms of Allergies in the Eyes
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There are certain symptoms in the eyes, such as redness, itchiness, irritation, swelling around the eyes which can be caused by a variety of reasons, including allergies. If it’s a mild or moderate allergic reaction it can be treated at home. If the symptoms still don’t go away then please schedule an appointment with our office at (212) 752-6930 so that the eye doctor can check you and provide a treatment plan.
If you or your loved one is experiencing an anaphylactic allergic reaction, please do not hesitate and call 911 right away.


At Amplify with Dr Wernick I was seeking help for seemingly intractable, probably age-related dryness. I've seen other doctors about it, and that has been helpful, but what he explained to me about it and the careful way he answered all my questions gave me so much more of a clear understanding of what is going on (and is not) that I am more able to implement all his and others' recommendations than I was before. And he gave me additional resources for further follow-up. I am most grateful.

Cynthia Norton

Wow! This is a great Eye Care medical facility. I was thoroughly examined by Dr. Pinkhasov for over 2 hours. She made sure to check my eyes for pretty much everything and patiently explained proper care for my eyes. They definitely know how to provide great care and treat their patients right. Now I know why they have such a great reputation and been around for so long.

Steve Fay

Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.

Mary K.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!

Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.

Allen B.
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