Most people associate allergies with sneezing and a runny nose. However, allergies do not just affect the nose but the eyes as well. An allergy attack can leave an individual with swollen, red, and itchy eyes. Different allergens trigger the symptoms, including dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and other outdoor and indoor substances.
Severe eye allergies can be very uncomfortable and require medical treatment. Finding the triggers is the first step in getting effective treatment. Here are common eye allergies and how to treat them.
Eye allergies occur due to problems in the immune system, the body’s defense mechanism. If you have allergies, your body can react to normally harmless substances like pet dander, pollen, and dust mites.
The body releases histamine, a chemical that causes inflammation and swelling. The eye blood vessels swell, leaving the eyes teary, red, and itchy. You can be allergic to one or several substances in the atmosphere.
Some people experience symptoms immediately after they encounter the allergen. For others, it can take several days before experiencing the symptoms. The common allergy symptoms include:
Red and irritated eyes
Burning or soreness
A runny or stuffy nose
If you experience symptoms of eye allergies, you need to visit an eye doctor for a proper diagnosis. The doctor will help determine whether you have allergies, dry eye, infections, or another eye condition.
Proper diagnosis will include analyzing the symptoms and determining the root cause. Allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe. A diagnosis will help in choosing the most effective treatment plan.
Several treatment options help with eye allergies. Medications that help with nasal allergies are also effective for treating eye allergies. Over-the-counter pills and eye drops can help provide relief. Antihistamine medications help block histamine production, relieving the symptoms.
Some eye drops help shrink blood vessels, reducing redness. You should avoid using the OTC medications for more than two days at a time. Your eye doctor can prescribe eye drops that work longer. The doctor may also recommend the use of allergy shots.
There are things that you can do to reduce eye allergy symptoms. They include wearing sunglasses outdoors, using a cold compress over the eyes, and applying lubricating eye drops.
You can rinse your eyes frequently using preservative-free saline water. Taking out your contact lenses will help reduce the symptoms. Avoid rubbing your eyes as this only worsens irritation and other symptoms. Contact your eye doctor immediately if you experience severe pain or vision changes.
Cosmetics and medications can cause eye allergies. Different environmental irritants can lead to symptoms consistent with common eye allergies. Some people are allergic to contact lenses that leave the eyes red and sensitive. An eye specialist can recommend special lenses to help with the condition.
For more on common eye allergies and how to treat them, call Albright Eyecare at (830) 271-4900 to reach our New Braunfels, Texas, office.