Approximately 50 million Americans have allergies.  Ocular allergies involve the conjunctiva on the outside of the eye.  The patient also frequently has allergic rhinitis, involving the nose; allergic atopic dermatitis, involving the skin; and sometimes allergic asthma, involving the lungs.


There are five types of allergic conjunctivitis

1.  Seasonal (SAC) or Perennial (PAC)

Seen in all age groups and is associated with airborne allergens.  The classic ocular signs are Itching, tearing, swelling, and injection.  The classic nose signs are a running nose, coughing and sometimes a sore throat.

2.  Atopic keratoconjunctiviti (AKC)

Occurs in adults and is not seasonal. It is associated with asthma, dermatitis and rhinitis.  Small papillae (bumps) and milky edema inside the eyelids are the classic signs.  The skin sign is eczema.

3.  Vernal keratoconjunctivis (VC)

Occurs in male children most often.  It tends to be seasonal (warm months).  The classic signs are intense itching, giant size papillae and a ropy discharge.  This can last for 10 years.

4.  Toxic allergic conjunctivitis (TAC)

An allergic reaction to eyedrops.  It manifests as swollen red eyes and eyelids.

5.  Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC)

This an autoimmune response to what the body treats as a foreign protein.  Often it is a native protein on a contact lens that has been altered by contact lens chemicals.


Dr. Steensma treats allergy problems with OTC eye drops and prescription eye drops.

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