Conjunctivitis: is it caused by infection or allergy?


Conjunctivitis can occur for several reasons. In allergy season, it is common to be caused by allergenic pollens. About its symptoms and treatment dr. Monika Augustinovich We asked an otolaryngologist, an allergist, and a doctor at the Buda Allergy Center.

Allergic conjunctivitis

The conjunctiva is a thin membrane covering the eyeball and the inner side of the eyelid. It is the first thing that comes into contact with the outside world and captures small dirt, germs and pollen that come into the eye. The conjunctiva can easily become inflamed, it is enough to rub our eyes with dirty hands, but for people with allergies, airborne pollen can also trigger the characteristic symptoms.

“In the case of conjunctivitis of allergic origin, seasonal recurrence can be observed: the symptoms appear when the pollen of the given allergenic plant is scattered. The eyes are itchy, red, watery, non-purulent discharge is typical and eyelid swelling may also develop. Unpleasant symptoms occur all year round, and allergens in the apartment, such as pet dander, appear to be the root cause.”

Similar to hay fever, the symptoms are caused by the release of inflammatory substances in the body, such as histamine, as a result of the allergen. The vasodilating effect causes nasal congestion and runny nose on the nasal mucosa, and in the eye it leads to the appearance of symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.

Bacterial or viral conjunctivitis

In this case, the root cause is some kind of pathogen that got into the eye. In such cases, early treatment is very important, as this type of conjunctivitis it is not only unpleasant, but also very contagious and spreads quickly in the community.

“If we see purulent discharge from the eye, it is most likely that the eye inflammation is not of allergic origin. Another characteristic difference is that the allergy causes symptoms in both eyes, while the first symptoms of infection usually appear in only one eye.”


How can it be treated?

Infectious conjunctivitis should be referred to an ophthalmologist. The symptoms can be eliminated with the help of eye drops and cream with the appropriate active ingredient. An allergist can help in the treatment of allergic conjunctivitis. An allergy test can be used to determine what exactly is causing the symptoms. If other hay fever symptoms also occur, steroid nasal sprays and antihistamines should usually be taken. Itching and tearing can be alleviated with anti-inflammatory eye drops. As a long-term treatment, allergen-specific immunotherapy can be considered, which eliminates allergic symptoms during 3-5 years of treatment, even for 10-12 years. The improvement is already significant in the first year of treatment, especially in the area of ​​nasal and eye symptoms.

Source: Buda Allergy Center

Source: Patika Magazin Online by

*The article has been translated based on the content of Patika Magazin Online by If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!

*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.

*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!