You may recognise symptoms such as sneezing, sniffling, and nasal congestion as the typical symptoms of allergies but allergies can affect eyes too. Eye allergies make the eyes red, itchy, burning, and watery, and can even cause swollen eyelids.
Allergic Conjunctivitis is the official name for eye allergies and although they do not pose any threat to eye sight, infections and other conditions can cause the same symptoms, so call Eyetek if your symptoms do not improve following treatment or if you are unsure.
Eye allergies happen when your body overreacts to something. The immune system makes antibodies that cause your eyes to release histamine and other substances. This causes itching and red, watery eyes. This can progress to swollen eye lids and even a pussy discharge from the eyes. Eyes feel gritty and sensitive.
There are two types of eye allergies seasonal, which are more common, and perennial.
Seasonal allergies happen at certain times of the year -- usually early spring through summer and into autumn. Triggers are allergens in the air, commonly pollen from grasses and trees as well as spores from molds.
Perennial allergies happen year-round. Major causes include dust mites, feathers (in bedding), and pet dander. Other substances, including perfumes, smoke, chlorine, air pollution, cosmetics and certain medicines can also play a role.
The first thing to do is to avoid your triggers.
Stay indoors when pollen counts are highest, if possible, usually in mid-morning and early evening.
Keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner when driving.
To limit your exposure to dust mites. Wash bedding frequently in hot water, air bedding our frequently in the sun.
Your doctor may suggest oral-antihistamines to keep allergies under control during peak allergy season.
Your Optometrists will examine your eyes under a slitlamp biomicroscope to ensure that your eyes are in fact suffering from an allergy and not a viral or bacterial infection. The optometrist will ask you questions about how long your symptoms have lasted, and attempt to identify a trigger. Over the counter eye drops will be suggested to control the reaction and relieve symptoms quickly. Eye lubricating eye drops may also be added to improve comfort and wash allergens from the eye surface.
If you have any doubts about how your eyes look or feel, contact your optometrist for advice.