Eye allergies are a common condition that is easily identified by eye irritation, redness and swelling. Many people suffer from eye allergies but the source of the condition varies by individual. Allergies are not a dangerous condition but they can cause blurriness along with frequent rubbing of the eyes which can cause more serious problems.
Eye Allergy Symptoms
The following are the most common symptoms of eye allergies:
- Red, swollen and itchy eyes
- Burning eyes
- Dark circles under eyes
- Tearing eyes
- Thick watery discharge
- Sensitivity to light
These symptoms may or may not be accompanied by nasal conditions including a stuffy and itchy nose with frequent sneezing.
Eye Allergy Causes
Eye allergies, like all allergies, are a reaction of the body to an invading irritant called an allergen. The body’s immune system kicks into gear and reacts to the allergen by releasing histamine and other agents to naturally combat the irritant. This bodily reaction causes the red, itching, burning and watery eyes. Interestingly, some allergies are inherited while some are unique to an individual.
What are the invading irritants? Most of the eye allergens, referred to as “triggers” include:
- Pollen (from grass, trees & weeds)
- Pet Dander
- Cigarette Smoke
Knowing your triggers can help you avoid situations that perpetuate eye allergy symptoms.
Eye Allergy Types
There are several types of eye allergies but there are typically two categories; seasonal and perennial.
Seasonal allergies are by far the most common and occur during specific times of the year, typically spring and summer. Perennial eye allergies, on the other hand, can happen anytime throughout the year.
Eye Allergy Self-Management
There are many things a person can do to manage their condition without seeking medical assistance. Here are a few recommendations:
If you are specifically allergic to pollen, the following hints will be helpful.
- Minimize outdoor activities during high pollen counts.
- Minimize outdoor activities during windy days.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses when you go outdoors.
- Use air conditioning and keep windows closed.
- Avoid window fans.
- Regularly change air conditioning filters.
Here are the top 10 recommendations to reduce symptoms for all allergies
- Use allergen-reducing bedding.
- Frequently wash bedding (especially pillows) in hot water.
- Frequently wash clothing in hot water.
- Frequently and thoroughly clean high-humidity areas and use dehumidifiers.
- Frequently dust and clean to minimize dust mites.
- Clean with a damp mop to better trap allergens.
- Minimize exposure to pets when pet allergies are evident.
- Consider alternative flooring to carpet.
- Frequently wash your hands.
- AVOID RUBBING YOUR EYES
Over the Counter Medications
Patients may be able to manage their symptoms with nonprescription medications. These medications include:
- Sterile Saline Rinse
- Eye Drops
- Oral Antihistamines
These medications should not be used longer than a week or they may be counterproductive and worsen the condition.
Summit Eyecare Allergy Treatments
When self-management is not working, call Summit Eyecare for an appointment. The eye doctors at Summit Eyecare will check your eyes to determine if the condition is allergies or something else.
Once it is determined that you have eye allergies and not something else, they will discuss your personal and family history regarding eye allergies. If appropriate, they will prescribe one or more of the following:
- Artificial tear drops
- Eyedrops with antihistamines
- Oral antihistamines
- Steroid eye drops
Request an Appointment
If you are experiencing eye allergies without relief, give Summit Eyecare a call for an appointment with your eye doctor or click the link below to request and appointment.