Noninfective conjunctivitis

Overview: What is Noninfectious Conjunctivitis?

Noninfectious conjunctivitis is a type of conjunctivitis that is caused by an irritant, rather than a virus or bacteria. It is also known as allergic conjunctivitis, chemical conjunctivitis, or giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC). It is an eye condition that causes redness, irritation, scratchiness, and foreign body sensation in the eyes. It occurs when the white part of the eye becomes inflamed due to an allergen or an irritant, such as dust, pollen, smoke, fumes, or chlorine.

Symptoms of Noninfectious Conjunctivitis

The main symptoms of noninfectious conjunctivitis are red eyes, itchy eyes, and increased tearing. Other symptoms may include:

  • Burning, irritation or stinging
  • Feeling like something is in the eye
  • Excessive mucus
  • Crusting of eyelids
  • Swollen eyelids

Causes of Noninfectious Conjunctivitis

Noninfectious conjunctivitis is usually caused by an allergic reaction or an irritant. Allergens that can trigger the inflammation include dust mites, pollen, animal dander, and mold spores. Other possible causes are:

  • Contact lenses
  • Smoke, pollutants, and other airborne allergens
  • Sensitivity to certain types of eye drops
  • Certain medications
  • Swimming in a chlorinated pool
  • Chemical fumes and other airborne irritants

Treatment of Noninfectious Conjunctivitis

Noninfectious conjunctivitis does not usually require treatment if the cause is an allergen or an irritant. The symptoms should resolve once the allergen or irritant is removed. Treatment may include:

  • Artificial tears or eyedrops to reduce eye irritation
  • Antihistamine or mast cell stabilizer eyedrops to reduce inflammation and reduce itching
  • Discontinuing contact lenses
  • Corticosteroid eyedrops to reduce inflammation
  • Removing the source of the allergen or irritant