Eye allergies such as watery eyes, itchy and red eyes are a result of irritants that cause running and sneezing nose among the sufferers. Allergy sufferers can experience swollen eyelids and play a role in eye infections and conjunctivitis, says Dr. Nicholas Rutkowski. These symptoms can happen independently.
Symptoms of Eye Allergies
- Watery, clear discharge
Causes of Eye Allergies
Allergens are mostly harmless substances. However, they cause problems for people with predisposed allergic reactions. Below are some common causes:
- Irritants like perfume, cigarette smoke, and diesel exhaust
- Indoor allergens like dust mites, pollen, mold, and pet dander
- Outdoor allergens like weeds, trees, and grass
Eye allergies are also caused by cosmetics like artificial tears, eye drops used to treat dry eyes. Food allergies or allergic reactions to insect bites like bee stings don’t affect the eyes as severely as airborne allergens.
Eye Allergy Management
First, you need to avoid allergens by limiting exposure. For example, you can stay indoors during those days when there is more pollen count outdoors. Let the air conditioner run to filter the air and use quality furnace filters to ensure allergens are trapped. Replace your filters regularly.
When you indulge in outdoor activities during allergy season, ensure you wear wraparound sunglasses to shield your eyes and protect them from ragweed, pollen, and other allergens. You can drive with the windshield closed.
Remove and clean your contacts regularly as they can attract and accumulate airborne allergens. Wear glasses during allergy season or switch to daily disposable contacts to prevent the buildup of debris and other allergens on the lenses.
You can discontinue using contacts until the allergy symptoms are gone. Plus, you can wear eyeglasses with photochromic lenses to lower allergy sensitivity to light and shield your eyes from other airborne allergens.
Treatment of Eye Allergies
Use Eye Drops
Eye allergies are common and there are different brands of no-prescription eye drops well formulated to relieve redness, itchiness, and watery eyes due to allergies.
If the allergy symptoms are mild, the relief can work. Eye drops are cheaper than other medications. See your optometrist for a recommended brand.
If the allergy symptoms are severe or the eye drops are not effective, then you may need to consult an optometrist for prescription medication. Examples of prescription medications include antihistamines, decongestants, mast cell stabilizers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and Immunotherapy.
Eye Allergies Diagnosis
An eye allergy develops when your body’s immune system overreacts and becomes sensitized to something in your environment. Allergic reactions happen when allergens are in contact with antibodies found in your eye mast cells. The mast cells release histamine and other chemicals in response causing leaking of the tiny blood vessels causing itchiness and wateriness.
Eye allergies have common symptoms with eye diseases. This is why you need to see an eye specialist to do an eye exam.
Manage your eye allergies by using the tips discussed above. Your eye health is vital and only happens if you take proper management measures to avoid escalating the problems which can cause eye diseases or infections. Consult your optometrist to know more about eye allergies.