What To Do When Allergies Or Infections Strike
Even if you fight the good fight, you may still sometimes need relief from itchy, watery eyes. Depending on your diagnosis, here are treatments that can help.
For allergies: Topical medications are usually better than general allergy remedies for treating eye allergies. Many allergy eye drops are extremely successful in treating symptoms. Some actually work to prevent symptoms by preventing the allergic reaction from getting started.
Your doctor may suggest short-term medications to help control inflammation, such as steroid or anti-inflammatory eye drops. Over-the-counter artificial tears also can help keep eyes moistened and flush out allergens.
For infections: Viral infections generally clear up on their own, but cold compresses and lubricating eye drops can minimize symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe antibiotic eye drops to treat a bacterial eye infection.
For eye infections caused by fungi and parasites, the medication will depend on whats causing the problem. Your eye doctor can help sort that out.
Getting quick diagnosis and treatment is the key when you have irritated eyes. No matter whats causing the problem, your eye doctor can help you find the right treatment and the relief you need.
Avoid Outdoor Allergy Triggers
Do your symptoms act up in the spring or summer? You may have seasonal eye allergies. Pollen from grass, weeds, and trees may trigger your eye symptoms. Monitor pollen counts and stay indoors when they are high outside, if possible. Close the windows and run the air conditioner to help filter the air. Pollen counts tend to be the highest in the early evening and mid-morning when winds are most active. If you must be outside, wear sunglasses to minimize contact with allergens. Do not use window fans. These can draw irritants from outside and deliver them into your home and make eyes itchy.
Inflammation Of The Cornea Can Also Be Associated With Allergy
The cornea has very few blood vessels , and is seldom involved in an allergic reaction. However, there are a number of causes of small pinpoint defects in the cornea, a condition called epithelial keratitis, which is usually due to drug and chemical exposure, for example:
- Drug toxicity and drug allergy.
- Vernal conjunctivitis.
- Contact sensitivity to topical eye medications such as neomycin, idoxuridine, atropine and derivatives, thiomersal and some topical anaesthetics.
Specific conditions involving the cornea, which are associated with allergy are listed below.
- A combined inflammation of the conjunctiva and cornea, most often associated with atopic dermatitis/eczema.
- Usually results in red, scaly and weeping skin of the eyelids.
- Secondary infection with Staphylococcus aureus is common and may cause infection of the eyelash follicles.
- The conjunctiva may be swollen, red and with a tenacious clear or pus containing discharge.
- The condition can persist for many years and causes severe photophobia, weeping and itching.
- If the photophobia is severe, it can be difficult for people to open their eyes in direct sunlight.
- Conjunctival scarring may occur if the persistent condition is not treated properly.
- May be associated with the severe form of atopic dermatitis in about 8-10% of sufferers.
- Occurs in children and young adults, even in the absence of steroid therapy.
Allergies And Your Eyes
Eye allergies arise with your body’s immune system becoming sensitive and overreacting to allergens in the environment, which poses no problem for most people. An allergic reaction occurs when an allergen interacts with your antibodies that are tethered to the mast cells inside your eyes. These mast cells react by the releasing of histamine and other chemicals that make the tiny blood vessels leak and subsequently cause the eyes to become irritated, watery, and red.
Eye allergies can share symptoms with ocular diseases, making it very important to get an accurate diagnosis. Eye allergy symptoms can range from the annoyance of redness in the eyes to the more severe inflammation, which may be serious enough to impair your vision.Conjunctivitis, the inflammation of the conjunctiva tissue which covers the white of your eyes, is a condition found in many people and is attributed to allergies and infection.
Protecting Your Eyes From Injury
Since the cornea is the most exposed part of the eye, injuries to the cornea are relatively common. The cornea deals fairly well with minor injuries. Superficial scratches are oftentimes healed by cells of the surface sliding over and patching the defect. Deeper injuries can take longer to heal and require the care of an eye care professional. Deeper injuries can lead to scarring and can affect your vision more than superficial ones.
Symptoms: Symptoms vary depending on the injury. Light sensitivity, redness and tearing are common symptoms.
Treatment: Depending on the injury and the severity, treatment may consist of observation with pain control and possibly a bandage contact lenses. More severe injuries may require surgery.
Prevention: Eye protection is a crucial part in preventing eye injuries.
Its important to stay vigilant about your eye care to prevent irreversible damage. Barnet Dulaney Perkins Eye Center offers regular eye health exams and expert advice to keep your eyes working at their best.
Choose Your Lighting Wisely
When you are indoors, you often have some control over your environment. Avoid fluorescent lights if you can, opting instead for track lighting, spot lamps, or desk lamps that have warm pink, white, or peach bulbs. These remove some of the glare and make light much more tolerable for people who are sensitive to it.
Try Artificial Tears Or Eye Drops
Using eye drops can help your eyes flush out the pesky allergens. Some over-the-counter eye drops contain antihistamines or decongestants that help treat your allergy symptoms. Before you try any eye drops, be sure to talk to your eye doctor to find the best ones for you some eye drops can have side effects for people with certain conditions.
Conceal Eye Circles Carefully
If you are self-conscious about the appearance of dark circles, you can minimize their appearance with concealer. If the circles are blue, choose a concealer with a yellowish tinge to best hide the problem. If the circles are more brown, choose a concealer with an orange or peach tinge to mask the problem. Use no to minimal eye makeup as makeup may make symptoms worse. The less you put on your eyelids and around your eyes, the better. Instead, accentuate another feature, like your mouth. Put on a flattering shade of lipstick and you’re good to go.
Complications Of Allergic Conjunctivitis
While they may cause discomfort in daily life, most cases of seasonal and perennial allergic conjunctivitis clear up completely, and complications are rare.
However, in severe cases of contact conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis, a person may develop inflammation, ulcers and scarring on the cornea, the front of their eye. This is called keratitis and requires urgent medical treatment to prevent long-term damage to vision.
Severe cases of vernal keratoconjunctivitis and atopic keratoconjunctivitis can also cause long-term damage to the eyes if left untreated.
What Causes Your Eyes To Be Sensitive To Light
Sensitivity to light can be the product of a variety of existing eye conditions. Very rarely does light sensitivity exist on its own. It is often a symptom of a greater vision problem, which is why it needs to be monitored carefully.
Here are some of the most common causes of light sensitivity:
- Uveitis: Uveitis is a condition that affects the inner layers of the eye when they become inflamed, including the retina. When this happens, it can cause an extreme sensitivity to light because the inflammation causes all the affected layers to become more sensitive.
- Glaucoma: is disease that affects the optic nerve. When the intraocular pressure in the eye is too great, it can distort vision and cause eye pain. It can also cause sensitivity to light and create halos around light sources.
- Contact Lenses: Excessive wearing of contact lenses can cause your eyes to become more sensitive to lights. When you wear your contact lenses for too long, such as wearing them overnight, it can cause corneal ulcers which can lead to light sensitivity.
- Eye Surgery: A very common aftermath of eye surgery is sensitivity to light. Most times after cataract surgery, a patient will be sent home with special sunglasses to protect their eyes from bright lights.
- Eye Injuries: Eye injuries make the whole eye more sensitive. After sustaining an eye injury, you may experience eye pain, headaches and light sensitivity. The degree of light sensitivity will vary depending on the severity of the eye injury.
Symptoms May Also Be Due To Contact Allergy
- Many cosmetics , will cause a contact allergy of the eyelids, which may occur in only one eye
- Other causes include antibiotics and the preservative thiomersal .
- Some plants will also cause contact allergy, including Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’, African violets and a number of bulbs. Since the Rhus tree has been declared a noxious weed the number of cases of this serious contact allergy has declined.
- Usually there is an initial improvement of the condition after prescribed eye drops are used and then a continuing deterioration, only improved by ceasing the eye drops.
- Bathing the eyes with cooled boiled water will give comfort as the condition improves.
- A doctor will usually use patch testing to confirm the diagnosis and inquire about whether any non-prescribed or herbal drops have been used.
If You Have Light Sensitivity Or Photophobia Youre Not Alone
In fact, millions of people have light sensitivity. While many of us think of irrational fears when we hear the word phobia, that isnt the case here. Photophobia is a medical condition where bright lights or certain types of light literally cause pain. And thats the part that might spark a little fear in the hearts of those who have it.
Take Maya for example. This Chicago native had meningitis 25 years ago that caused migraines. The migraines were gradually subsiding until they were massively retriggered a few months ago, she says.
That made it an ordeal to be outside on a sunny day and even worse to be out once headlights and streetlights came on. Fluorescent lighting became intolerable. Even my home became a minefield, from the too-bright kitchen ceiling light to the monitor and phone screens .
When it comes to photophobia, were not just talking about letting your eyes adjust, like when you walk into the kitchen to make your morning coffee and turn on the light. Were talking about potentially debilitating pain. And while the discomfort of photophobia causes many sufferers to want to retreat into the dark and avoid bright lights altogether, the home remedies for photophobia mentioned above can help reduce your symptoms while you go about your usual business.
Use The 20 20 20 Rule
Extensive computer use can cause your eyes to be very dry and strained, leaving you with eyes sensitive to light and watery. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the 20 20 20 rule to help combat eye strain and fatigue. Every 20 minutes that you are on your computer, stop and for 20 seconds look at something 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a break and helps to reduce eye strain. If you can, get up and move around a bit. Go for a walk, stand up and just move, or do something else. This helps keep you alert in addition to saving your eyes.
Whats Up With Eye Allergies Anyway
When your eyes get exposed to an external allergen, they react by throwing up a defense to get rid of the intruder. Common culprits include pollens, molds or pet dander. Certain cells in your eyes known as mast cells release histamine into the bloodstream, causing the blood vessels to expand and building up protective mucus in the airways.
So while your immune system is doing its best to protect you, youre feeling the effects of that counterattack as the common symptoms of allergy or hay fever, such as itching and redness.
Triggers Of Eye Allergies
- Cause. An allergic reaction of the eyes to allergic substance. The medical name for this is allergic conjunctivitis. The allergic substance is called an allergen. Most allergens float in the air. That’s how they get in the eyes. Here are the common ones:
- Pollens. Trees, grass, weeds and molds are the most common pollens. Tree pollens come in the spring. Grass pollens come in the summer. Weed pollens come in the fall. Pollens cause seasonal allergies. You can’t avoid pollens because they are in the air. Most eye allergies continue through the pollen season. They can last 4 to 8 weeks. Pollens cause seasonal eye allergies.
- Pets. Allergens can also be from cats, dogs, horses, rabbits and other animals. Pet allergens are in the air. They can also get in the eyes from the hands. Most people don’t keep a pet that they are allergic to. They only have sporadic allergy symptoms when they are exposed to a pet. These symptoms usually last a few hours. If you own the pet, your child will have symptoms all the time.
- House Dust. House dust contains many allergens. It always contains dust mites. If your humidity is high, it will contain mold. If someone with a cat visits you, they will bring cat dander with them. House dust causes year round, daily symptoms. The medical name for this is perennial eye allergies.
What Causes The Dark Blue
This is called the allergic shiner when theres swelling of tissue and fluid buildup in and around the eyes, blood starts to pool, darkening the skin and creating dark circles. The allergic shiner is also a common sign of environmental allergies to pollen, dust mites or pet dander, and it can also indicate food allergy.
Treatment For These Types
- Environmental controls for environmental allergens at home, school, or in the work environment identified as triggering symptoms.
- When environmental allergen controls prove inadequate in the management of symptoms, the following medications may help:
- Topical antihistamines, decongestants and mast cell stabilizers or dual acting mast cell stabilizers and antihistamines are helpful, but they may take some time for optimal effect.
- In severe cases, a burst of oral corticosteroids or frequent application of topical corticosteroids is needed to relieve unbearable symptoms. Prolonged use of corticosteroids should be avoided because of their association with the complication of glaucoma and/or cataracts.
- Topical cyclosporine A may be useful in severe cases.
- Complication of corneal ulceration may require a combination of antibiotics, corticosteroid ointment and a gauze pressure dressing over the eye.
- Immunotherapy should be considered to lower your sensitivity to known allergens.
How Is Allergic Conjunctivitis Diagnosed
Your doctor will examine your eyes and review your allergy history. Redness in the white of the eye and small bumps inside your eyelids are visible signs of conjunctivitis. Your doctor may also order one of the following tests:
- An allergy skin test exposes your skin to specific allergens and allows your doctor to examine your bodys reaction, which may include swelling and redness.
- A blood test may be recommended to see if your body is producing proteins, or antibodies, to protect itself against specific allergens like mold or dust.
- A scraping of your conjunctival tissue may be taken to examine your white blood cells. are white blood cells that become activated when you have allergies.
There are many treatment methods available for allergic conjunctivitis:
What Causes Light Sensitivity
Its pretty common knowledge that light is transmitted from your eyes to your brain along certain nerve pathways. What you may not know is that theres another pathway that transmits pain signals. For most of us this pathway performs the critical job of protecting the photoreceptors in our eyes from damage. This is why when we look at a light bulb or try to look at the sun, it hurts and makes us want to stop. But when you have photophobia, this pathway is overly sensitive and may cause pain under lighting conditions that anyone else would consider normal.
Dr. Bradley J. Katz is a professor and neuro-ophthalmologist at the University of Utah Medical Center. One of his specialties is treating patients with photophobia. According to Dr. Katz, causes of light sensitive vision may include:
- Acute inflammation in the eye
- Contact lens irritations or poor fit
- Corneal abrasion or ulcer
What Are Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms
People with eye allergies suffer from redness, itching, burning, and clear discharge. Depending on the type of allergic conjunctivitis a person has, they may exhibit tearing, sensitivity to light, feeling that something is in the eye , puffiness, blurry vision, discomfort wearing contact lenses, swollen eyelids, or produce a thick, mucus discharge may be present. Some people with the condition also have nasal allergies, , or . All of these are allergic diseases.
Fluorescent Lighting Alternatives At Work
Talk with your employer about how the lighting affects your health and your ability to be productive, if appropriate. Suggest alternate workspace locations or request an increase in natural lighting and/or fluorescent diffusers. And if you need help, here are some more tips for convincing your boss to deal with light sensitivity in the workplace.
Avoid Indoor Allergy Triggers
Indoor allergens may trigger eye symptoms. Protect yourself by keeping windows closed at home and in the car. Run the air conditioner to help filter the air. Skip window fans that draw air with pollen and other allergens from outside and bring them inside. Take measures to protect yourself against dust and mold. If you go outside, change clothes and shower as soon as you get indoors because pollen sticks to clothing and hair. Pollen counts are highest in the early evening and mid- morning. Avoid going outside during these times, if you can. Do not allow cats and dogs to be in the bedroom. Pet dander on the floor or on bedding can be especially problematic for allergy sufferers and those with asthma.
Allergies & Your Eyes
are when your bodys immune system reacts to a substance that is not ordinarily a threat, such as pet dander or pollen, in a way that causes irritation.
In severe cases, allergies can be dangerous, causing anaphylactic shock. Its more common that allergies irritate the eyes, nose, mouth, and skin but are otherwise not immediately dangerous.
Allergies that affect the eyes can be especially troublesome, as the eyes are very sensitive. If your eyes are itching and watering, it can cause further problems.
Rubbing your eyes has the potential to damage them. Anything that interferes with your ability to see can make things like driving or operating heavy machinery dangerous.
Of all the mild to moderate allergies people have to deal with, many find eye symptoms the most troublesome and distracting. While it is not always possible to completely avoid these symptoms, things can be done to mitigate their severity and frequency.
There Are Several Signs Of Allergic Conjunctivitis
Typical signs and symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include:
- Redness in both eyes.
- Itching and burning of both the eye and surrounding tissues.
- Watery discharge, often accompanied by acute discomfort in bright sunlight light .
- The conjunctiva itself may become very swollen and look light purple, and this may interfere with clarity of vision.
Eyelids may also be affected by an allergic reaction, causing the loose tissues of the lid to become swollen with subsequent drooping of the eyelid. In cases of severe swelling, the lids cannot open and the gap between the upper and lower lids becomes slit like.
It is important to note that blurred vision or corneal haze require urgent referral to an eye specialist.
Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms may be:
- Perennial due to exposure to dust mite, animal dander, indoor and outdoor mould spores and occasionally foods or food additives.
- Seasonal due to airborne allergens such as pollen of grasses, trees and weeds. Pollen allergy symptoms vary from day to day, depending on the weather, improving in wet weather and worsening on hot windy days or after thunderstorms. There are also seasonal variations in some airborne mould spores, which may cause seasonal symptoms.
What Is Allergic Conjunctivitis
When your eyes are exposed to substances like or mold spores, they may become , , and . These are symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis is an eye inflammation caused by an allergic reaction to substances like pollen or mold spores.
The inside of your eyelids and the covering of your eyeball have a membrane called the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is susceptible to irritation from allergens, especially during hay fever season. Allergic conjunctivitis is quite common. Its your bodys reaction to substances it considers potentially harmful.
Allergic conjunctivitis comes in two main types:
What Can Be Done To Relieve Eye Allergies
There are preventive measures you can take to minimize the risk of suffering from eye allergies. Certain medications can also help relieve the symptoms.
If you want to avoid triggers of your eye allergy, observe the following practices:
1. Wear eyeglasses or sunglasses when outdoors. This will help keep the pollen out of your eyes.
2. Wash your hands after touching pets.
3. Keep your windows closed during pollen season. Use your air conditioning, and make sure your air filter isnt clogged with dirt.
4. Use mite-proof bedding so that you can minimize your exposure to dust mites. Consider running dehumidifier to reduce the risk of mold growth.
There may be days when you have no control over your environment, but dont worry because there are nonprescription medications that you can use to relieve your allergies. These include eye drops and antihistamines.
1. Eye Drops You can choose among several brands of non-prescription eye drops to relieve itchiness, redness, and watery eyes. These eye drops are good for relatively mild symptoms.
2. Antihistamines Your body responses to allergens by releasing histamine, a substance that dilates blood vessels and makes the walls of blood vessels permeable. This then results in a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. Antihistamines reduce such effects by blocking the attachment of histamine to the cells in your body, which produce an allergic reaction.
Increase Natural Light As Much As Possible
Although sunlight can lead to headaches and light sensitivity, it is still a much preferred alternative to artificial fluorescent lighting inside. Otherwise you may want to at least utilize warm-colored interior lighting through desk or floor lamps and/or swapping out the bright white light bulbs.
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Emerging From A Dim Or Dark Space
Have you ever left the movie theater during the day and had to immediately close your eyes because of the bright sunlight? Transitioning from a dark place to an well lit environment can spark this sensation, primarily due to the dilation of the pupils. Fortunately, this is almost always temporary until your eyes adjust to the new level of light.
Triggers: What Causes Red Eyes
Red eyes may occur when someone is exposed to their triggers. These triggers may differ from person to person. Pollen, dog and cat dander, dust mites, and mold are just a few potential eye triggers. When a susceptible person is exposed to these allergens, a substance called histamine is released. Histamine and other inflammatory compounds are responsible for itchy eyes, watery eyes, and other allergic symptoms. Eye drops are available that reduce redness. They may or may not contain compounds that act as antihistamines and relieve itching, too. Red eyes that may be mistaken for are a common symptom of eye allergies.