Do your eyes ever water, itch, hurt, or become red or swollen? You may be experiencing allergic conjunctivitis or an ocular allergy, known commonly as an eye allergy.
Like all allergies, eye allergies start when the immune system identifies an otherwise harmless substance as an allergen. This causes your immune system to overreact and produce antibodies. These antibodies travel to cells that release chemicals, which cause an allergic reaction.
In this case, the reaction takes place around your eyes. Eye allergies occur when the conjunctiva becomes inflamed. This is the mucous membrane covering the white of the eye and the inner side of the eyelid.
What Causes Eye Allergies?
The most common causes of eye allergies are seasonal allergies to pollen and mold spores. People with seasonal hay fever (allergic rhinitis) normally notice their symptoms worsen when they go outdoors on days with high pollen counts.
Indoor allergens, such as dust mites and pet dander, can also cause eye allergies year-round. If you suffer from this type of allergy, you may notice your symptoms worsen during certain activities such as cleaning your house or grooming a pet.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
If your symptoms are related to an eye allergy, chances are you will have problems in both eyes. Typical symptoms include:
Sensitivity to light
These symptoms can occur alone or along with nasal symptoms. They typically appear shortly after exposure to the allergen.
Dr. Albright has specialized training and experience to determine which allergens are causing your symptoms and discuss which treatment options are right for you. Dr. Albright can also offer valuable advice for avoiding your triggers.