Have your eyes ever itched for, what seems like, no reason at all? As seasons begin to change and plants begin to bloom, allergies begin to flare up. A common sign of allergies begins when your eyes start to itch. If you do not see anything in your eyes and they are itchy and red, then this may be a sign of allergies. Eye allergies are referred to as conjunctivitis. Along with itchy and red eyes, you may experience symptoms such as sneezing and nasal allergies.
Eye Allergy Symptoms
- Clear, watery discharge
- Sensitivity to light
What Triggers Allergies?
An allergic reaction in the eye occurs when an allergen irritates them. After irritation, the eye produces histamine to fight off the allergen. This is what causes those annoying allergy symptoms. Fortunately, eye allergies are not contagious and will not spread! There are many triggers to eye allergies. The outdoors can be the main cause of irritation in your eyes. The main reason for allergies comes from the various different types of pollen in different kinds of plants. Indoor allergens like dust mites, mold, and pet dander can also trigger eye allergies. Other factors that can trigger allergies include perfume, cigarette smoke, eye makeup, and diesel exhaust.
How to Manage Eye Allergies
Managing your eye allergies can take time and trial and error. First, try making changes to your routine and home to ensure you are preventing any allergy flares. Some of those changes include keeping windows closed during high pollen periods, using AC in your home and car, using mite-proof bed covers and a dehumidifier, washing your hands often, and wearing glasses or sunglasses outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes. Another great preventative measure includes taking allergy medicine daily and using eye drops. You can even receive allergy shots if your allergy doctor recommends them.
How to Diagnose Eye Allergies
Eye allergies are triggered when your body’s immune system reacts to something in the environment. Symptoms of eye allergies can be as minor as redness of the eye but become as extreme as impaired vision. If you are not noticing improvements with over-the-counter remedies, it would be time to see your eye doctor. Your eye doctor will be able to conduct tests to reveal an eye allergy or disease. Eye tests consist of examinations with a microscope that will reveal swollen blood vessels. Your doctor can test white blood cell levels to detect an allergic reaction because they can show up on areas of the eyes that are displaying allergies.
Seasonal allergies are by far the most common type of eye allergy. People will experience the most symptoms as seasons change especially during the fall, spring, and summer because of the different types of pollen in the air. There are different ways to take care of your eyes during different seasons.
Seasonal Allergy Symptoms:
- Watery discharge
People who suffer from seasonal allergies may also have dark circles under their eyes. Their eyelids may be puffy and more sensitive to light. These symptoms are often accompanied by a runny nose, nasal congestion, and potential fever. The itchy eyes often result in people rubbing their eyes which can make their symptoms worse. Because of the added irritation, you should avoid rubbing your itchy eyes if able.
Prescription Eye Drops and Medications
Eye drops are one of the main ways to treat eye allergies along with oral medication. Eye drops can help relieve short-term and long term allergy symptoms. Depending on how severe your allergic reaction is your doctor can prescribe you specific eye drops for your eyes. Make sure to consult with your eye doctor before choosing a solution. Your eye doctor will be able to tell you if eye drops or oral medicine is better for your situation and eye health.
How We Can Help!
At Medical Arts and Eyes, we want to make sure your eyes are getting the proper care. If your eyes are starting to itch and over-the-counter medications are not helping, it might be time to schedule a visit to your eye doctor. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!