Eye Allergies in Chicago, IL

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What are Eye Allergies?

Almost 10% of U.S. adults and children are impacted by seasonal allergies (often called hay fever) and have annoying unpleasant symptoms. Sneezing, sniffling, and itchy noses are well-known allergy indicators, but so are bloodshot eyes, watery eyes, itchy eyes, and swollen eyes. When allergens affect your eyes, this is called allergic conjunctivitis, sometimes referred to as eye allergies or ocular allergies. Ocular allergies are extremely common and will be developed by the majority of individuals with hay fever at some point. The irritation caused by ocular allergies can be mild to extreme, but it very often has easy treatments. At his practice in Chicago, IL, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Daniel Tepper is experienced with some highly effective eye allergy treatments to ease eye irritation. Reach out to our team at Wicker Park Eye Center to find out more or schedule your consultation.

What are the Symptoms of Eye Allergies?

Red Eyes

ProcedureEye allergies often cause the white of your eye or inner eyelid to become red and inflamed. You may also notice a clear, watery discharge from your eyes. This is sometimes referred to as allergic conjunctivitis.


Patients with eye allergies often experience a range of uncomfortable sensations, such as itchy eyes or a burning feeling.

Vision Changes

In severe cases, eye allergies can also lead to blurred vision or sensitivity to light.

What Causes Eye Allergies?

Usually, there aren’t any unusual causes for eye allergies. Eye allergies are essentially your eyes reacting to the same allergens that set off your other allergic reactions, including sneezing or an itchy nose. Most of the time, individuals with eye allergies are responding to tree pollen, fungus, dust mites, animal dander, or other common airborne allergens. Many people can also have an eye allergy to certain chemicals, tobacco smoke, and even cosmetics. Many allergens can be present on the fingers, which is why rubbing the eyes often worsens the symptoms of eye allergies. Some people are genetically prone to eye allergies. Other factors that can contribute to eye allergies include:

  • Asthma
  • Family history of allergies
  • Being younger than 18 years old

If you deal with an eye allergy, you are not alone

More than 50 million Americans struggle with eye allergies*

*According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America

How Does Eye Allergy Treatment Work?

Your examination at our Chicago, IL clinic will include a careful test using a slit lamp. The microscope allows Dr. Tepper to view the surface and inner portions of your eye for signs of dilated blood vessels, swelling, and other signs of an allergic reaction.

ProcedureIt may also be important to determine which substances are causing your symptoms. A simple procedure called a skin prick allergen test can determine which substances you are allergic to. Suspected irritants are spaced evenly apart over your skin. After your skin is sanitized, small pricks allow the substances to be placed on the skin’s surface. By watching for swelling and other symptoms, a member of our team can determine which irritants you should avoid.

In addition to immunotherapy, like allergy shots, Dr. Tepper may recommend one of several personalized treatment options to treat your unique eye allergy needs.

Eye Allergies FAQ

How do eye allergies start?
Eye allergies begin when a foreign substance enters the body through or on the eyes. This typically happens when coming into contact with a common allergen, such as pollen, dust, mold, or pet dander. Eye allergy symptoms may disappear within a few hours or days, but a severe reaction may last longer or present a chronic issue to manage.

How can I prevent allergic reactions?
While there isn’t necessarily a cure for eye allergies, the best way to avoid eye allergies is to make changes to your environment. Wicker Park Eye Center recommends keeping your windows closed during peak allergy season or during the time of year you most often experience allergic reactions. If it's difficult or impossible to avoid specific triggers, keep your eye out for products with the word "hypoallergenic." You should control any mites or mold in your home and remember to wash your hands before touching your eyes.

Can eye allergies become serious?
While most eye allergies are annoying or bothersome but can be managed, untreated allergies can damage or injure your eyes. This includes potential issues to your corneas, especially if you rub your eyes too hard. Irritated and dry eyes are also more susceptible to pink eye and other common infections.

Are eye allergies ever contagious?
No, eye allergies are not contagious. They are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens, not by a virus or bacteria.

How long will my eye allergy symptoms last?
The duration of symptoms will vary depending on the severity of the allergy and the type of allergen. In some cases, symptoms may only last for a few hours or days, while in other cases they may persist for weeks or months.

Can eye allergies develop at any age?
Yes, eye allergies can develop at any age. While they are most common in children and young adults, older adults can also develop allergies to new allergens.

Get Relief From Eye Allergies Today

For many people, eye allergies are uncomfortable and annoying, but fortunately, there are some effective options to get relief. Board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Daniel Tepper treats his Chicago, IL patients on an individualized basis to see to it that they get the most effective answer for their specific needs. Get in touch with us at Wicker Park Eye Center if you are suffering from eye allergies to schedule an eye exam. Let us help you get the relief you need to keep your eyes healthy and happy.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.