Eye allergies occur when a foreign substance causes inflammation to your conjunctiva. The foreign substances or allergens can come from anywhere, whether indoors or outdoors. The inflammation occurs when blood vessels in your eyes bulge, causing them to become red and itchy. Your eyes may also start to tear. If you are suffering from eye allergies, there is a high chance that your kids may have it too.
Eye or ocular allergies are in two types, namely perennial and seasonal. Perennial ocular allergies occur all through the year. Seasonal eye allergies occur only at certain periods during the year. This means that your allergic symptoms increase when you are outside on hot, dry days. This is because the pollen count is higher during this kind of weather.
Normal symptoms of ocular allergies include burning, itching, redness, and watery discharge. Depending on which ocular allergy you have, you may experience sensitivity to light. You may also have:
The feeling of something foreign in your eye
Thick mucus discharge
Uneasiness wearing contacts
A combination of these symptoms may be a sign that you are suffering from other allergies. These include asthma, eczema, or nasal allergies.
Eye allergies make your immune system start misfiring. Your body will react to the allergen by releasing histamine. This makes your eyes teary, red, itchy, and start to swell. Some of the allergens causing this may include:
Dust – Also includes pet dandruff and other indoor particles. They all cause perennial ocular allergies.
Pollen – This may be from trees, grass, and weeds. They cause seasonal ocular allergies, which are very common.
Beauty products – These include perfumes, makeup, and other chemicals. They cause contact conjunctivitis.
If you know that some things can trigger your eye allergies, there are several steps you can take to avoid them. If you are allergic to dust, clean the floors of your house with a wet mop. Sweeping with a broom may stir up the allergens instead of getting rid of them. This is particularly important if you have pets. You can also consider replacing your rugs and carpets with plastic or rubber. Also, opt for blinds in place of curtains.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies, stay indoors during sunny days. This is because the pollen count is highest during this weather. You should also switch on your air-conditioner and close the windows even when driving. If you have to go outdoors, wear large sunglasses. These keep the pollen from reaching your eyes.
When dealing with dust mites, wash your beddings often with hot water. Also, use special covers for your pillows. You may also have to change your mattress every few years. Keep the humidity in your house under 50 percent. This helps stop mold from developing indoors. As a point of caution, avoid rubbing your eyes when they get itchy. This tends to exacerbate the condition.
You can treat eye allergies with some of the same drugs as nasal allergies. Some over-the-counter prescriptions may also offer some temporary relief. Some doctors may recommend eye lubricants and sterile saline rinses. These drugs help flush out the allergens from your eyes.
For more on preventing & treating eye allergies, contact Kennedy Vision Health Center at our offices in Plymouth or Elk River, Minnesota. You can also call 763-296-2600 or 763-296-2700 to book an appointment today.