Effects of Allergies on Your Eyes

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Effects of Allergies on Your Eyes - First Eye Care North Arlington

Eye Allergy Symptoms are Similar to that of Other Eye Conditions

Your eyes are extremely complex parts of your body. They are intricately connected to your brain, providing you with the ability to see the world around. Because your eyes are so complex, they are also rather sensitive. People who suffer from allergies often experience sneezing, sniffling, and nasal congestion. However, they will be quick to notice that allergies also have quite an effect on their eyes as well.

If you suffer from allergies, your eyes may become very irritated, itchy, red, and swollen. Fortunately, the same treatments for nasal allergies also work for eye allergies. Eye allergies are referred to as ocular allergies or allergic conjunctivitis. While they may be a nuisance and uncomfortable, they do not pose a serious threat to the health of your eyes or vision.

You may be wondering how exactly allergies affect your eyes and what you can do to treat it. First Eye Care North Arlington is here to help you better understand eye allergies, so you can better handle them.

Causes 

Eye allergies happen just like any other allergies do. When your body comes into contact with a substance, it overreacts and leads to an allergic reaction. This substance, known as an allergen, prompts your mast cells in your eyes to release histamines to combat this allergen. Histamines are your body’s natural response to allergy triggers. Histamines cause small blood vessels to leak, leading to allergy symptoms. They initiate the process of expelling them from your body, whether in the form of sneezing, tearing up, or itching. They cause your eyes to itch and become red and watery.

However, these allergens do not cause any issues for most people.

Symptoms 

  • Redness
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchiness
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Grittiness
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Blurred vision

While not all of these will occur at once, if you do experience a handful of these, chances are your eyes are going through an allergic reaction.

Types of Eye Allergies

While many people do experience allergies throughout the year, there are frequently two types of eye allergies: seasonal and perennial.

  • Seasonal Allergies: The most common form of eye allergies, seasonal allergies occur at specific times of the year. Typically, the allergy season begins in early spring and continues throughout summer, ending in the fall. During this time of year, most of the triggers can be found in the air, such as pollen from grass, trees, and weeds. Mold spores also often lead to allergic reactions.
  • Perennial Allergies: As the name suggests, these occur year-round. They aren’t typically found outside like seasonal allergies, but rather indoors. Dust mites and animal dander are the most common triggers for those who suffer from perennial allergies. However, irritants like cigarette smoke, chlorine, air pollution, perfumes, and certain medicines can also be a trigger.

It can be relatively easy to recognize whether you have seasonal or perennial allergies. For example, if your symptoms occur when you are grooming or petting your dog, you probably have perennial allergies. If you walk outside on a high-pollen-count day, and your symptoms flare-up, you may have seasonal allergies. However, if you are not sure, you should seek an allergist for proper diagnosis.

Diagnosis

The signs and symptoms of this condition are very similar to other diseases, so it is extremely important to seek a proper diagnosis in order to rule out more serious, vision-threatening conditions. An allergist will look over your medical history and symptoms then conduct a series of tests to figure out the cause of your symptoms.

They will examine your eye under a microscope, looking for any swollen blood vessels. There is also another type of exam that tests for a specific white blood cell type. This white blood cell can be found on the affected areas. Your doctor will scrape the conjunctiva, the eyelid inner lining, to search for them.  

Avoidance and Treatment

Arguably the best way to deal with both indoor and outdoor allergies is simply by avoiding them. If you know that you either have seasonal or perennial allergies, you should take the necessary steps to ensure you don’t come into contact with any triggers.

If you have eye allergies, you should:

  • Avoid going outside during periods of high pollen count, typically mid-morning and early evening
  • When you do go outside, wear eyeglasses or sunglasses that block any pollen from reaching your eyes
  • If you are driving, keep your windows closed and run your air conditioner
  • During times of high pollen count, keep the windows in your home closed and run the air conditioner
  • Wash your bed sheets frequently with hot water to rid them of dust mites
  • Consider using special bedding that keeps out allergens
  • Use a damp mop to clean your floor. Sweeping only kicks up allergens instead of removing them
  • If you own a pet, replace carpets and rugs with hardwood, tile, or other easy to clean flooring
  • Wash your hands after petting an animal
  • Keep the humidity level in your home at 50% to prevent mold growth. You can do this using a humidifier

Medication

While eye allergy symptoms can be a nuisance, they do not pose any long-term health risks to your eyes and vision. There are plenty of options to treat your condition. You can purchase over-the-counter antihistamine pills or eye drops that can help clear up symptoms, but often, they only work short-term.

Some medications include:

If you do experience eye allergies, whether perennial or seasonal, and would like treatment to reduce symptoms, discuss your options with an allergist or your eye doctor.

Eye allergies are extremely common for many people throughout the world. While they do not put your eyes at high risk, they can be annoying and reduce your quality of life when your symptoms flare-up. If you do suffer from eye allergy symptoms, schedule an appointment with First Eye Care North Arlington. These symptoms may be allergies, but they can also indicate something far more serious.

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