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ACAAI > Patients & Public > Resources > Ask the Allergist

Red Eye

Q: What is the "Red Eye"? And is it related to allergies?

A: No, we are not talking about airplane flights here...  "Red Eye" is a "basket" term that encompasses a wide range of eye conditions.  Most conditions are self-limited; however, red eye can be a sign of serious eye disease.  Presence of pain helps to distinguish between the more serious eye conditions and less serious ones, as pain may be present in a vision-threatening disorder.  Eye allergy commonly affects both eyes and is associated with itching and tearing.  A white "ropey" discharge can occur if this becomes a more chronic condition.  Eye allergy (allergic conjunctivitis) does not typically threaten vision unless it is a chronic, very severe form.  Seek a more detailed discussion and evaluation with your allergist or eye doctor.

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