A recent study shows that a new eye drop may be a potentially effective treatment for seasonal eye allergies, a condition affecting millions of people worldwide

In a set of studies, the scientists assessed whether or not a non-antihistamine drug that targets a specific gene linked to eye infections could be a potential option to treat patients suffering from seasonal allergies.

Eye allergies are also known as "allergic conjunctivitis." Just like any other allergic reaction, they are caused by a misfiring of the immune system, the body's natural defense mechanism.

When you have allergies, your body reacts to things that aren't harmful, like pollen, dust mites, mold, or pet dander. It releases histamine, a chemical that causes swelling and inflammation. The blood vessels in your eyes swell and your eyes get red, teary, and itchy.

Eye drops have less of a risk of side effects than do oral medicines, and such risk can be minimized by occluding the lacrimal punctum, (i.e. pressing on the inner corner of the eye) for a short while after instilling drops. Eye drops are also used for stopping itching and redness of the eyes.

The team evaluated different biological fluids before administering the compound in eye drop form to a mouse model with eye allergies.

Results showed that this treatment for pollen-induced eye allergies reduced allergy-related symptoms (swelling and tearing) by 50 – 80%.

According to the researchers, these observations were equivalent to those observed in response to Patanol and Levocabastine -; two frequently prescribed antihistamine eye drop medications used to treat seasonal eye allergies.

"This new therapy allows the number of administrations to be reduced to once daily without inducing systemic side effects, and it is expected to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from seasonal allergies," says Victoria Gonzalez Mpharm, PhD, of Sylentis, a Spain-based company that specializes in development of ocular treatments based in RNA interference.