Allergies Specialist

Gerald J. Mullan, MD -  - Ophthalmologist

Gerald J. Mullan, MD

Ophthalmologist located in Rochester Hills, MI & Hazel Park, MI

Allergies can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms in your eyes, including redness, irritation, and burning. At his practice offices in Rochester Hills and Hazel Park, Michigan, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Gerald J. Mullan treats the symptoms of eye allergies, otherwise known as allergic conjunctivitis. The symptoms of eye allergies are treatable, and you can reduce or even prevent them by knowing your triggers. To book an appointment, call or use the online scheduling tool.

Allergies Q & A

What are eye allergies?

You may associate allergies with nasal symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and congestion, but allergies can affect your eyes just as much.

An allergy is when your body interprets a substance that’s normally harmless as an outside threat. When you have an allergic reaction, your immune system is acting up because it’s trying to “fight off” the allergen. Your body releases a compound called histamine that causes swelling and inflammation.

Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, can cause symptoms such as:

  • Red, swollen, itchy eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Burning sensation in eyes

You can have allergy symptoms in your eyes in response to common airborne allergens such as pollen, mold, and pet dander, or as an adverse reaction to contact lenses or eye drops. Allergens don’t have to come into direct contact with your eyes to cause symptoms. For example, if you’re allergic to insect bites or perfume, part of your body’s response may include eye inflammation.

How are eye allergies diagnosed?

Dr. Mullan performs an eye exam and asks about your symptoms, including any symptoms affecting other parts of your body. Usually, eye allergies accompany nasal symptoms like congestion and sneezing. He also asks about your allergy history and may perform allergy skin tests to see how you react to common allergens.

Sometimes, to diagnose eye allergies Dr. Mullan needs to rule out other causes for your symptoms. For example, the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are similar to viral conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.” Unlike pink eye, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. If your symptoms have been getting worse, the cause may be more serious than eye allergies.

How are eye allergies treated?

To help relieve your symptoms in the short term, Dr. Mullan may recommend:

  • Taking over-the-counter oral antihistamines (the same medications you’d take for nasal allergies)
  • Antihistamine eye drops, including over-the-counter and prescription options
  • Decongestant eye drops, which shrink blood vessels in your eye
  • Steroid eye drops, which can work on severe and long-lasting cases of eye allergies

The only way to prevent eye allergies from coming back is to minimize exposure to allergens, such as by closing your windows when the pollen count is high or keeping your home free of dust. He may also recommend wearing glasses instead of contacts during allergy season, or using daily disposable contacts so allergens don’t have a chance to build up.

To get treatment for eye allergies, call the office of Gerald J. Mullan, MD, or use the online booking tool.