Skip to content

Eye Health Center

Font Size

Allergic Pinkeye

Pinkeye (or conjunctivitis) from an allergy is not contagious and often occurs during the same season, year after year. A substance (allergen) causes a reaction in the lining of the eye that makes the eye red, swollen, itchy, and teary. Spring and fall are the most common times of the year for this kind of pinkeye to occur.

Pinkeye can be caused by many substances that come in contact with the eye, such as eye medicines (especially those containing neomycin), makeup, contact lens solution, pollens, or chemical fumes. Pinkeye caused by contact with a substance may occur in one eye only. These eye symptoms may also bother people who have other allergy-related problems, such as hay fever, asthma, and skin allergies (eczema).

Symptoms of pinkeye caused by an allergy include:

  • Redness, swelling, tearing, and itching.
  • White, stringy drainage.

You may have similar nose or throat allergy symptoms when you have allergic pinkeye.

Allergic pinkeye is usually treated at home with cold compresses and nonprescription eyedrops, such as naphazoline (Naphcon-A). If symptoms continue, a visit to a doctor is needed. Severe cases of allergic pinkeye may require treatment by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) or an allergy specialist.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerWilliam H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerH. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last RevisedNovember 2, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 02, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Today on WebMD

Woman holding tissue to reddened eye
Learn about causes, symptoms, and treatments.
eye
Simple annoyance or the sign of a problem?
 
red eyes
Symptoms, triggers, and treatments.
blue eye with contact lens
Tips for wearing and caring.
 
Understanding Stye
Article
human eye
Article
 
eye
Video
eye exam timing
Video
 
vision test
Tool
is vision correction surgery for you
Article
 
high tech contacts
Article
eye drop
Article
 

Special Sections