Quiz – Seasonal Allergies: The Eyes Have It

The good news is that you have survived the tree allergy season; the bad news is that you’re in the middle of grass season and ragweed season is around the corner. If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t sneeze and cough during this period, you may still be reaching for the Kleenex due to allergic conjunctivitis: the swelling or inflaming of the eyes. Take this quiz to learn more about how pollens can miss your nose and still make life uncomfortable. Answers are below.

1. The conjunctiva, or the clear layer of tissue lining the eyelids and covering the white of the eye, can become swollen or inflamed due to a reaction to pollen, dander, mold, or other allergy-causing substances.

A. True
B. False

2. A symptom of allergic conjunctivitis is:
A. Intense itching or burning eyes
B. Puffy eyelids, especially in the morning
C. Red eyes
D. Watery eyes
E. All of the above

3. Eye discomfort from allergies can be relieved by the following EXCEPT:
A. Lubricating eye drops
B. Cool compresses
C. Over-the-counter oral antihistamines
D. Decongestants
E. Mild eye steroid drops

4. If home care measures do not help, there is nothing more you can do about allergic conjunctivitis.
A. True
B. False

5. For severe symptoms, a physician may prescribe eye drops that prevent certain white blood cells, called ________ cells, from releasing histamine.
A. Dendritic 
B. Suppressor T
C. Mast
D. Helper T
E. Microglial


1. A. True. When your eyes are exposed to anything to which you are allergic, histamine is released and the blood vessels in the conjunctiva become swollen. Reddening of the eyes develops quickly, along with itching and tearing.

2. E. All of the above. Other symptoms can include a stringy eye discharge and dilated blood vessels in the conjunctiva.

3. D. Decongestants. These are helpful for reducing symptoms in the nose, such as nasal stuffiness.

4. B. False. A physician may provide treatments such as antihistamine or anti-inflammatory eye drops or mild eye steroid drops for more severe reactions.

5. C. Mast cells. These drops are given along with antihistamines, and work best if taken before coming in contact with the allergen.
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