Eye Allergies in Kids

Eye Allergies In Kids: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Eye allergies in kids can be a common problem. children’s daily life and causing discomfort to their eyes. Eye allergies in toddlers or allergies in babies eyes can be very frustrating for a family. Let’s take a look at why allergies in kids happen and what can be done about it.

Eye Allergies In Kids: Symptoms

Eye allergies in kids can have symptoms that are similar to a viral or bacterial conjunctivitis. It’s important to know the difference as conjunctivitis is contagious and eye allergies in kids are not contagious. Furthermore, the treatment is different for an allergy vs an eye infection.

Itchy And Watery Eyes

Children may feel a persistent itchiness in their eyes, which often tempts them to rub the irritated area, potentially worsening the symptoms. Also, an increased production of tears is a common symptom of eye allergies, causing the eyes to appear watery.

Red Eyes Or Red Eyelids

Allergic reactions can cause inflammation, which results in red or pink eyes. In some children the skin below their eyelids can also become red. Because allergies can also aggravate dry eyes, the dry eye can also make the eyes more red.

Eyelid Swelling Or Puffy Eyes

In some cases, the eyelids may become slightly swollen due to the allergic reaction. Severe swelling could be very concerning and should be evaluated immediately, in order to rule out a severe condition called orbital cellulitis.

Mucus Discharge From Eyes

Children with eye allergies may also experience a sticky, stringy, mucus discharge from their eyes, though this is less common. It is important to note that these symptoms should not be accompanied by pain or fever, as it might indicate a different issue.

Runny Itchy Nose And Sneezing

Kids with eye allergies will also usually have other eye allergy symptoms. These can include sneezing, a runny nose and sometimes an itchy throat.

Conjunctivitis Symptoms Vs Eye Allergies In Kids

It can be difficult to tell eye allergy symptoms from viral pink eye (viral conjunctivitis) or bacterial conjunctivitis since many of the symptoms are the same. One of the main distinguishing factors is the absence of other allergy symptoms like sneezing. 

  • Itchy eyes
  • Red Eyes
  • Puffy Eyes
  • Yellow discharge
  • Light sensitivity
  • Previous upper respiratory infection

Eye Allergies In Kids: Causes

Eye allergies in children, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, happens when the eyes react to allergens in their environment. Let’s take a look at the common causes of eye allergies in children.

Common Environmental Allergens

Some of the most common environmental allergens that can cause eye allergies in children include:

  • Seasonal Allergens: Tree pollen, grass pollen, and weed pollen can lead to seasonal allergies such as hay fever, also known as allergic rhinitis. The severity of these allergies can be influenced by the pollen count in the environment.
  • Indoor Allergens: Dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores are common indoor household allergens that can trigger eye allergies in children. These allergens can persist throughout the year, not just during specific seasons.
  • Outdoor Allergens: Outside of pollen, other outdoor allergens such as mold and air pollution can also cause eye allergies in children.

Identifying Allergy Triggers

To identify the triggers that cause eye allergies in children, consider the following factors:

  • Track Symptoms: Keep a record of your child’s allergy symptoms, including when and where they occur. Note if symptoms worsen during specific seasons or specific environments.
  • Monitor Pollen Counts: Watch local weather forecasts for pollen counts throughout the year. If your child’s symptoms are more severe on high pollen count days, it may indicate that pollen is a trigger.
  • Allergen Exposure: Consider the allergens your child is exposed to, both indoors and outdoors. Does your child’s symptoms worsen after playing outside or spending time in a specific room at home?

By understanding the common causes and triggers of eye allergies in children, parents can make informed decisions about how to manage and reduce their child’s exposure to allergens.

Eye Allergies In Kids: Treatment And Relief

When dealing with eye allergies in kids, it is essential to explore various treatment options to help relieve the symptoms and prevent flare-ups. This section will discuss two categories of interventions: pharmacological and home remedies/preventative measures.

Avoiding Triggers

The first and best way to improve eye allergies in kids is to avoid allergens that are causing the symptoms. If you don’t know what the triggers are, then you can consider allergy testing for your child.

Allergy Testing

Allergy testing can play a crucial role in diagnosing eye allergies in children and determining the specific allergens causing the symptoms. Typically, skin tests and blood tests are the most common methods used for allergy testing.

Skin tests involve applying a small amount of the suspected allergen to the child’s skin and observing for any reactions, like redness or swelling. Skin tests can be helpful in identifying allergens like pollen, dander, or mold, which are common triggers for eye allergies.

Blood tests may be used if skin testing is not possible, or if more precise information is needed about the child’s sensitivities. Blood tests measure the levels of specific antibodies called Immunoglobulin E (IgE) that the body produces in response to allergens.

After determining the culprit allergens, healthcare professionals can recommend appropriate treatments and develop a management plan to help control the child’s allergy symptoms and prevent future exposures.


There are several types of allergy medications available to help manage eye allergies in children. Some common pharmacological interventions include:

  • Oral antihistamines: These medications, taken by mouth, can help alleviate itching and redness associated with eye allergies. Examples include cetirizine, loratadine, and fexofenadine.
  • Mast cell stabilizers: These eye drops work by preventing the release of histamine from mast cells, reducing allergic reactions. Examples are cromolyn sodium and nedocromil.
  • Antihistamine eye drops: These drops can help relieve itching and redness by blocking the effects of histamine. Examples include azelastine and olopatadine.
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy): This treatment involves receiving regular injections of small amounts of allergens to help the immune system build tolerance. In some cases, sublingual immunotherapy (allergy tablets placed under the tongue) can be an alternative option.
  • Steroid nasal sprays: These sprays help alleviate nasal congestion and inflammation associated with allergies. They may be useful when eye allergy symptoms are accompanied by sinus issues.
  • Prescription medications: In severe cases, doctors may prescribe other oral medications such as montelukast or corticosteroids to help manage symptoms.
  • Artificial tears: These lubricating eye drops help to flush out allergens and alleviate dryness. They can be used as needed throughout the day.
  • Cold compress: Applying a cold, damp cloth to the eyes can help reduce swelling and soothe itching.
  • Avoiding allergens: Identifying and avoiding triggers such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites can help prevent eye allergy symptoms. Strategies include staying indoors during high-pollen days, using air filters, and cleaning the home regularly.
  • Frequent washing of bedding: Washing bedding helps with dust mites. Dust mites are tiny creatures that thrive in warm, humid environments and feed on the dead skin cells that humans shed. Wash bedding in hot water (at least 130°F or 54°C) to kill dust mites. Wash sheets, pillowcases, and other bedding items at least once a week and use dust-mite-proof covers on mattresses, box springs, and pillows.
  • Proper eye care: Encouraging children to avoid rubbing their eyes and washing their hands regularly can help minimize contact with allergens and prevent additional irritation.

By combining pharmacological treatments with home remedies and preventative measures, parents and caregivers can help effectively manage eye allergies in children and improve their overall quality of life.

Consult An Allergist

While managing eye allergies at home can provide some relief, it is important to consult both an eye doctor and an allergist. Often times eye specific treatments may not be enough. In these cases an allergist can be very helpful to recommend oral therapy and other ways to control allergies.

Eye Allergies In Kids: Summary

Eye allergies in kids can be tough to manage. Symptoms of eye allergies in children include itching, redness, watery eyes, and mild swelling of the eyelids. These symptoms can be accompanied by sneezing, sniffling, or a stuffy nose, since nasal allergies often coincide with eye allergies. In some cases, there may also be a mucus discharge from the child’s eyes. It is important to note that no pain or fever should be present in allergic reactions.

Treating eye allergies in young children requires a combination of preventative measures and allergy medicine. Parents and caregivers should be aware of the common triggers of eye allergies, such as pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust mites, and strive to minimize their child’s exposure to these allergens. Finally, it is a good idea to talk to your eye doctor and also strongly consider seeing an allergy specialist who can help you figure out which common allergens are causing the eye irritation in your child.

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