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Can Allergies Make Your Eyes Swell

What Are Eye Allergy Symptoms

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When you have eye allergies, the mast cells lining the conjunctiva release histamine when exposed to allergens and irritants. Those allergens and irritants cause the conjunctiva to swell and symptoms of eye allergies to occur.

Common symptoms include:

  • red, irritated, teary and itchy eyes
  • burning

Hot, dry weather dries out the eyes and makes eye allergy symptoms worse.

White Blood Cell Test

This is not a straight-forward blood test, and doctors dont usually prescribe this test for a normal allergic reaction . Your symptoms have to be more severe for this test to make sense.

Doctors will turn to this exam if your eyes are extremely irritated or red or if theyre swollen. The procedure entails extracting and examining certain eye tissues, especially in the eyes conjunctiva.

Results will show your white-blood cell count, a clue that your immune system is working overtime to repel an allergen.

Have An Allergy Plan And Stick To It

The best way to avoid suffering from itchy, swollen eyes, watery eyes, and other allergy symptoms is to prevent symptoms before they start. Know your allergy triggers and do your best to avoid them. Do you feel better or worse during certain times of the year? Your doctor can perform allergy testing to identify which substances are irritants for you. You may need a combination of oral medications, nasal sprays, eye drops, and shots to control your eye allergy and allergic symptoms. Ask your doctor how best to control your chronic allergy symptoms and what to do if you have an allergic reaction.

Self-Care Tips

Ask whether home remedies, like applying a cool compress over itchy eyes, will help. Discuss plans for how to treat mild and more severe symptoms with the doctor. Ditch the contact lenses when itchy eyes flare up. Stick to glasses. Follow your doctors eye care instructions. Stash moisturizing eyedrops on hand at home and work to treat dry eyes when they occur. Protect your eye health by wearing sunglasses outside. You can manage diseases like eye allergies, asthma, eczema, and other conditions with the right plan.

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    How Is Allergic Conjunctivitis Treated

    Oftentimes with allergy symptoms, the best course of action is to simply avoid whatever triggers an allergic reactionfor instance, if you’re allergic to cats and you know your friend has a cat, suggest a meeting place outside their home so you don’t risk having an allergic reaction to their pet. The same goes for allergic conjunctivitis, Kanwaljit Brar, MD, an allergist at NYU Langone, tells Health. “The best approach is to be preventative,” Dr. Brar explains.

    Experts advise making an appointment with an allergist if you find that you frequently suffer from allergic conjunctivitisif your eyelids start swelling and your eyes start watering at seemingly random timesand you have no clue what your allergen is. “If you see an allergist, you can identify what you’re allergic to we can predict when patients’ symptoms will ,” says Dr. Brar.

    From there, an allergist can help you make simple lifestyle changes that eliminate allergic conjunctivitis and other allergy-related issues, says Dr. Hajee. So if your allergist tests you and determines that pollen is likely what’s triggering your symptoms, they can advise you to stay inside during certain times of the day when the pollen count in your region is highest, says Dr. Brar. By tweaking your routine by, say, going on your outdoor run at a different time when the pollen count is typically lower, your symptoms might lessen without the use of medication.

    What Can You Do For Eye Allergy Treatment And Relief

    How to Treat Swollen Eyes Fast

    The best thing to do is to totally avoid whatever eye allergens and irritants bother your eyes. However, this is hard since these triggers are airborne.

    Here are some tips to keep your eyes clear, clean and comfortable:

    • Use a preservative-free eye wash or artificial tears to moisten dry, irritated eyes and help wash out allergens and irritants.
    • Put a damp washcloth in the freezer for a few minutes and then apply it to your eyelids to reduce itching and swelling.
    • Keep your hands away from your eyes. Wash your hands and face after being outside on high pollen and mold days.

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    How Is Allergic Conjunctivitis Diagnosed

    Your doctor will ask you questions about your symptoms, including when you experience them and whether you have any allergies, asthma or eczema. Your doctor will also examine your eyes and check your vision. No tests are usually needed to diagnose allergic conjunctivitis. If you have chronic allergic conjunctivitis, your doctor may refer you for further eye tests to check your vision.

    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.

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    Symptoms Of Swollen Eyes

    Swelling of the eyelids is a symptom of an underlying cause, such as allergy or infection. You may have some of these other symptoms along with swollen eyelids:

    • Eye irritation, such as an itchy or scratchy sensation.

    • Sensitivity to light .

    • Soreness, particularly involving an infection.

    Here is a closer look at some of the most common symptoms of swollen eyelids:

    What Is The Prognosis Of Eye Allergies

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    The prognosis is favorable for most patients with eye allergies. Typically symptoms clear up quickly with OTC/home treatment or when the offending allergen is not present any more. Unfortunately the symptoms may reoccur depending on the cause of the eye allergy. Health complications are very rare, but medical attentions should be sought immediately for any pain or vision loss that occurs or for symptoms that do not resolve within 12 hours.

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    Is It Pink Eye Or Allergies

    It can be difficult to tell the difference between allergic conjunctivitis and pink eye, a conjunctivitis caused by a virus or bacteria. Eye allergy tends to clear secretions and itching, while bacterial infections causing pink eye usually involve yellow or greenish discharge. Most conjunctivitis is viral rather bacterial and resolves well after applying warm compresses. If only one eye is affected, take care to not touch or apply anything to the unaffected eye after touching the eye with the issue.

    Never put corticosteroid drops into your eyes without having a comprehensive eye exam. It is very difficult to tell the difference between conjunctivitis caused by allergy or conjunctivitis caused by bacteria corticosteroids can be dangerous with certain bacterial diseases. Eye allergy tends to cause clear secretions and itching, while bacterial infections usually involve yellow or greenish secretions.

    If you suspect that you have eye allergies visit a healthcare professional. Preventing and treating eye symptoms may be part of your overall treatment plan.

    Tips For Preventing Swollen Eyes

  • Get tested for allergies. If swollen eyelids from allergies are a regular occurrence, knowing what you’re allergic to can help you avoid specific allergens or reduce your exposure to them.

  • Pick beauty products that are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free to help avoid allergy flare-ups. Do a patch test on the inside of your wrist before using the makeup on your face to prevent an allergic reaction near your eyes.

  • When using eye drops, look for preservative-free eye drops. Preservatives in regular eye drops slow down bacterial growth, but some people may be allergic to these preservatives.

  • If you wear contact lenses, you can curb your risk of eyelid swelling by practicing proper hygiene. Always wash your hands before inserting or taking out contacts. Frequent replacement of your contact lenses and contact lens case are also part of proper hygiene.

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    Swelling Caused By Infection

    If the swelling was caused by an infection in the eyes, nose, or mouth, youll likely be prescribed antibiotics to clear it. If an abscess is present, your healthcare provider may cut open the abscess and drain it. The open area will then be closed in with packing material to keep it from becoming infected and reoccurring.

    Can Allergies Cause Dry Eyes

    Morning Allergies Swollen Eyes

    If your eyes feel dry and irritated in the winter months when there are fewer outdoor allergens, then you may have a form of tear dysfunction known as dry eye, or keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This is not an allergic reaction it happens when your eyes either do not make enough tears or the tears they make go away very quickly.

    Many people have dry eye, including about one-third of older adults. Its commonly found in people with eye allergies as well. Symptoms are sometimes worse when its cold or windy outside, after you turn on the heat in your home, or if youre in a dry environment. Some medications, including oral antihistamines, sleeping pills and anti-depressants, can cause symptoms.

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    Treatment Depends On Severity And Cause Of Symptoms

    Identifying and removing the cause of allergic conjunctivitis, where possible, is ideal when an allergic cause has been confirmed from allergy testing. For example:

    • House dust mite minimisation measures in the bedroom .
    • Removing the cat from the house in sensitive individuals.

    It is also important to exclude the presence of a foreign body such as dust, wood chip or an insect/s.

    Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are generally mild to moderate and respond to bathing eyes with cold water, ice packs and cold water compresses. Topical lubricants can also help flush allergens from the tear film. However, symptoms can sometimes be extremely severe and debilitating and require medication. Treatment options include:

  • Oral antihistamines Help some people when avoidance measures are difficult. However, they may dry the eyes, nose and mouth, and may cause blurred vision. Antihistamines are usually contraindicated in glaucoma and advice should be sought from an eye specialist.
  • Allergen immunotherapy for specific allergensMay benefit people with persistent, severe allergic conjunctivitis. However, relief of eye symptoms takes longer than nasal symptoms.
  • Why Is My Eyelid Swollen And Drooping

    Your eyelid may be swollen because of an infection or blockage of an oil-secreting gland. This condition is called a chalazion. It usually looks like a red pimple-like area along the top or bottom of the eyelid. You may also have a more dangerous diagnosis, called orbital cellulitis, which can occur when an infection of the eye migrates into the eye socket. Pain, eyelid discoloration, and swelling along with fever, the eye bulging out or protruding, and difficulty moving the eye are common with this type of infection.

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    Nosh On Berries To Fight Histamine Release

    A flavonoid called quercetin which is present in blueberries, bilberries, and blackberries and which gives them their trademark color can stop your body from producing and releasing histamine. One study even found that when people took a quercetin glycoside 4 weeks before pollen counts became high in the atmosphere, they experienced relief from symptoms such as itching and watering of the eyes caused by cedar pollen.12 So start snacking on yummy berries before pollen season gets here to beat your eye allergy.13

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    Swollen eyelids are typically linked with allergic conjunctivitis or hay fever after exposure to airborne allergens but can also develop due to food allergies. A food allergy is an erroneous response of the immune system as it wrongly identifies food as a threat and attempts to fight it off.

    This results to inflammation in the soft tissue which is a usual symptom of food allergies. The inflammation can affect the lungs, sinuses and any part of the body that is made out of soft tissue including the eyes.

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    Other Sources Of Swollen Eyes

    In addition to hay fever, many other types of allergies can cause similar reactions. Animal dander can cause swelling around the eyes, as can the presence of dust mites or mold spores. Other causes are less common but still possible. For example, some people with latex allergies, particularly those with severe latex allergies, suffer from swollen mucus membranes, including around the eyes, following skin contact with latex 3. Food allergies, drug allergies and allergic reactions to insect bites or stings can also cause swelling 2.

    • In addition to hay fever, many other types of allergies can cause similar reactions.
    • Animal dander can cause swelling around the eyes, as can the presence of dust mites or mold spores.

    Questions For Diagnosing The Cause Of Eyelid Swelling

    To diagnose the underlying cause of eyelid swelling, your primary care or may ask you several questions related to your symptoms:

    • Describe the swelling. When did the swelling start? Does it come and go or is it constant?
    • Did you eat any foods or come in contact with any unusual substances preceding the swelling?
    • Are any other areas swollen?
    • How does the eyeball itself look?
    • Provide your full medical history, including all medical conditions, surgeries and treatments, family history, and a complete list of the medications and dietary supplements that you take.

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    What Is An Allergic Reaction On The Eyelids

    An allergic reaction on the eyelids may also be known as eyelid dermatitis. Dermatitis is another word for eczema, but it also just means that you have inflammation on your skin. When this happens on the eyelids, it looks a lot like a reaction on any other part of your body. If you have ever had or seen someone with an allergic reaction on their skin, this is what your eyelids may look like as well. It often causes bumps or redness, and the whole area will be itchy. This might drive you crazy and keep you up at night.

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    Eyelid swelling is most commonly associated with normal, age-related changes to the blood flow in the eye as well as diet, salt consumption, amount of sleep, and circadian rhythm. If you eat a large amount of salt, your body can and will retain fluid. Sometimes this retention takes place in the hands, making it more difficult to squeeze one’s hand, and other times it occurs in the eyelids, causing swelling.

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    When To See A Doctor About A Swollen Eyelid

    Be sure to visit your doctor for an eye exam if you experience any of the following issues along with your swollen eyelids:

    • Symptoms persist for more than 48 hours.

    • Eyelid swelling doesn’t go away with home remedies.

    • Vision starts to change or get worse.

    • Black dots, or floaters, appear in your vision.

    • Discomfort intensifies or does not go away.

    • Lump starts to appear within the swelling.

    • Eye movement becomes difficult.

    A physician or eye doctor will give you a medical diagnosis and the most effective treatment. A referral to an ophthalmologist may be needed if the cause of the swollen eyelid is severe enough.

    What Is A Chalazion

    A chalazion is a blockage in a small duct in your eyelid that can result in a small bump and . Each of your eyelids has small glands called meibomian glands located near the eyelashes, which produce one of the oils that lubricates your eye. When these glands cannot release their oil because their duct is blocked, the oil backs up and causes a bump.

    A chalazion is not the result of an infection, although it can follow an infection of the eye. An infection of these same small ducts is called a , which may resemble a chalazion but is usually quite painful and tender, while a chalazion is less painful. A chalazion can grow to the size of a marble in extreme circumstances.

    A chalazion is typically mild and requires no special treatment other than the application of a warm, damp compress several times a day to help loosen the oil blocking the duct. If a chalazion grows too large or cannot be resolved with a compress, it may be surgically removed.

    Seek prompt medical care if a bump on the eyelid remains for more than a month, if your vision is affected by the bump, or if the bump continues to grow despite treatment.

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    How To Manage Swollen Eyes From Allergies

    The American Academy of Ophthalmology says that prevention is better than cure. The best way to avoid getting eye allergies is to avoid exposure to allergens. Also, if you have swollen eyes from allergies, it is best to visit your eye doctor immediately. The eye doctor may prescribe medicines and eye drops to reduce the itchiness and inflammation.

    Learn more about swollen eyes from allergies in this video by eMedTV:

    Do you experience swollen eyes from allergies? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.


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