You would be very hard pressed to name a more irritating feeling than getting something stuck in your eye. Sometimes the tiniest things get stuck in there yet feel as if it’s massive. However, just because your eyes may be irritated and red and may feel as if there is something in them, that is not always the case. If the feeling of irritation does not go away after an extended period of time, and you don’t find anything actually in your eye, you could be dealing with eye allergies.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, roughly 50 million people in the United States deal with seasonal allergies, and that number continues to increase, affecting 30% of adults and 40% of children. Conjunctivitis and other eye infections can also be caused due to eye allergies.
Allergens are typically harmless substances that can sometimes react poorly with the body’s immune system thus becoming an allergy. Certain cells in your eyes called mast cells will release histamine and other substances to combat allergens once they make contact with your eye. This will often cause your eye to be red, itchy, and watery. There are outdoor and indoor allergens to be aware of that can cause allergies like:
- Pet Dander
These aren’t always the only irritants to your eyes though. Your eyes can have allergic reactions to perfumes, cosmetics, and certain drugs. Even some chemicals found in eye drops have been found to cause allergic reactions as well.
When allergies start affecting your eyes, it can definitely play a negative role in your quality of life at the time. Your vision may become blurred, and the discomfort you feel may also be affecting how you go about your day. The most frequent symptoms for eye allergies are:
- Watery eyes
- Swollen eyelids
Occasionally, eye allergies may be accompanied by other allergies that affect your nose, causing sneezing and runny noses.
In order for you to receive proper treatment, you should visit your Arlington eye doctor for them to assess whether you have contracted an eye infection or conjunctivitis. Diagnosing conjunctivitis is relatively easy. However, once your eye allergies have been diagnosed, it is time for them to be treated. Here are a few examples on how to properly treat your eye allergies:
- Avoid Allergens: It is better to prevent an allergic reaction than to actually have to treat it. During days when the pollen count is high, stay indoors as often as you can and make sure all of your windows are closed. When outside, wear sunglasses that cover all entryways to your eyes, blocking out any irritants.
- Artificial Tears: These eye drops can help relieve irritation from allergies by washing away allergens from your eye. They also give your eyes much needed moisture to relieve dry and itchy eyes.
- Decongestants: Decongestants are great for dealing with nasal troubles, but they also reduce the size of blood vessels on the white of the eye, relieving red eye in the process. If the decongestant you do choose contains antihistamines, then they can also help with itchiness as well.
- Antihistamines: Whenever the body responds to allergic reactions, it releases histamine which dilates the blood vessels, making them unusually penetrable. Antihistamines go into the body and block histamines from attaching themselves to cells that produce allergic reactions.
Dealing with eye allergies is not an extremely dangerous condition, but it can be very uncomfortable and irritating to deal with. There are proper steps you can take on your own to try to alleviate the symptoms of the conditions, but more often than not, it would be in your best interest to visit a doctor for proper treatment. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of eye allergies, stop by and visit your Arlington eye doctor at First Eye Care North Arlington, and let us relieve your discomfort!