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Can Food Allergies Affect Your Eyes

What Is Food Intolerance

How Do Allergies Work?

A food intolerance isn’t the same as a food allergy.

People with food intolerance may have symptoms such as diarrhoea, bloating and stomach cramps. This may be caused by difficulties digesting certain substances, such as lactose. However, no allergic reaction takes place.

Important differences between a food allergy and a food intolerance include:

  • the symptoms of a food intolerance usually occur several hours after eating the food
  • you need to eat a larger amount of food to trigger an intolerance than an allergy
  • a food intolerance is never life threatening, unlike an allergy

Read more about food intolerance.

Page last reviewed: 15 April 2019 Next review due: 15 April 2022

When To See An Eye Doctor

When your symptoms worsen after taking medication, consider visiting your eye doctor if your medicine does not yield any positive effects. In addition, contact your doctor ASAP if your vision gets impaired. Keep in mind that some eye allergy symptoms mimic eye disorders. It’s better to get the opinion of a professional.

Eye Allergies Are Common

Allergies are one of the most common chronic conditions, affecting 1 in 6 Americans. When our immune system overreacts to allergens, such as pollen or pet hair, we experience an allergic reaction. As a result, you may have the occasional allergic reaction or deal with allergens every day.

Eye allergies can be distracting and potentially harmful. You may be familiar with some allergy symptoms, like sneezing or a stuffy nose. But can you name all the eye symptoms allergies can cause? Although dry eye and eye allergies share similar symptoms, can allergies cause dry eyes?

Recommended Reading: How To Overcome Dust Allergy Naturally

Which Allergies Affect Your Eyes

There are many symptoms associated with allergies. These can include allergies affecting the eyes, nose, sinuses, and skin. How do allergies affect the eyes in particular? Are there any specific eye allergies?

Sometimes allergies affect only the eyes, which causes itching, burning, and redness. There may also be clear, watery discharge. We know this condition as an eye allergy.

Oftentimes, we associate itchy eyes with seasonal allergies. Other symptoms that go along with these are congestion and coughing. These are symptoms of a nasal allergy.

An allergist is the best person to diagnose which type of allergy you have. They can also prescribe specific treatments.

The following allergens trigger eye allergies:

The body experiences an allergic reaction because the immune system can overreact to these substances. This overreaction leads to the release of histamine from the mast cells in the eyes. Your eyes will become red and inflamed and feel itchy and water. In some cases, symptoms are mild but can be serious and cause visual impairments.

Important Considerations To Bear In Mind

Your Food Allergies 101

Always bear in mind that swollen eyelids might not always be the result of a food allergy. An infection in the lining of the eyelid or conjunctivitis can also cause evident swelling around the eyes. The allergic type is triggered by exposure to airborne allergens and not due to a virus or bacteria. The non-allergic type is considered more serious that can involve a bacteria or virus and requires medical care. Consulting a doctor will ensure that the condition is properly diagnosed.

Recommended Reading: How To Fix Allergies Without Medicine

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.

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.

Read Also: Can Allergies Cause Tooth Pain

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.
  • What Are The Best Foods To Eat For Health

    How to know and manage the causes of eye allergy

    We have discussed in great length the role that inflammation plays in chronic disease.

    Inflammation is a BIG deal. Most disease is some form of inflammation, so battling inflammation is a key component to supporting your eye and overall health. An estimated 80% of visits to doctors offices are for issues relating to a chronic disease, which stems from chronic inflammation of the body. The CDC states that 7 out of every 10 Americans die of chronic disease.

    What you put in your body is single-handedly the most important thing you can focus on to support your eyes.

    In this article we are going to discuss foods that contribute to disease and how to eliminate them.

    But I Cant Live Without…. !! – MYTH

    Before we dive into what to eat, please take note. If you have not eaten like this before your body has adapted to eating meat, dairy, and processed food. Much like a long term smoker goes through a detoxification, you will also go through a detoxification in which your body may develop rashes, headaches, shakes, phlegm, sleeplessness, constipation, diarrhea, or other forms of discomfort. YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS.

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    Eye Symptoms And Anaphylaxis

    An allergic reaction to a food, insect sting or bite, or medication may cause eye symptoms with swelling, itching and redness of the conjunctiva and soft tissues around the eyes. Individuals who are at risk of anaphylaxis should be referred to a clinical immunology/allergy specialist.

    Eating of foods containing monosodium glutamate or the preservative sodium metabisulfite will occasionallycause swelling and redness of the eye. However this is not a true allergic reaction and therefore symptoms will be less severe.

    © ASCIA 2019

    ASCIA is the peak professional body of clinical immunology/allergy specialists in Australia and New Zealand.

    ASCIA resources are based on published literature and expert review, however, they are not intended to replace medical advice. The content of ASCIA resources is not influenced by any commercial organisations.

    For more information go to

    To donate to immunology/allergy research go to

    Content updated April 2019

    Tips For Identifying The Food

    Tracking what you eat and how it affects your health may help you identify the food that may be causing the reaction. While you may only be experiencing red and puffy eyes now, if it’s a food allergy, more severe symptoms can occur anytime you eat the food. Once the food is identified, treatment includes complete elimination of the food from your diet, which may require careful shopping and label reading, as well as caution when eating out.

    Read Also: When To Take Steroids For Allergies

    Can Allergies Make Your Vision Blurry

    If you are among the countless Americans with eye allergies, then you understand how irritating they can be. While allergic reactions might affect just your eyes, more frequently nasal allergy symptoms are also present, such as sneezing, a stuffy nose, and breathing symptoms.

    If you resemble many allergic reaction patients, you treat your nasal and respiratory allergic reaction symptoms and neglect your itchy, red, watery eyes. Nevertheless, treating your eye symptoms is not impossible.

    Medication For Allergy Eyes

    107 Best images about Kalena Food Allergy Language on Pinterest ...

    Artificial tears bring only temporary relief. They will wash out allergens, but if you dont remove the source they will just return.

    Oral antihistamines can stop the watering, but they can dry out your eyes.

    Prescription antihistamines and corticosteroids can bring relief from allergy eyes as well as respiratory systems. These can be taken orally or as a nasal spray.

    While not technically a medication, immunotherapy can be highly effective. It teaches your body to naturally suppress the immune response.

    The best medication for allergy eyes is avoiding allergens. If you arent sure what is triggering your allergic reactions see the allergist for testing.

    Also Check: Does Allergies Cause Asthma Symptoms

    Maintain A Healthy Vision And An Allergy

    Managing allergies can help improve your overall quality of life.

    Start your allergy-free journey with us. We understand the challenges of allergies and how it affects your vision. Bradenton and Sarasota Allergist Dr. Sabharwal can provide accurate testing and effective treatment based on your individual needs. Our immunotherapy service will help boost your immune system, preparing you for an allergy-free journey.

    Call Allergy Affiliates at 941-792-4151 or book your appointment online by clicking on thislink.

    Contact Lenses May Cause Symptoms

    • Giant Papillary and Giant Follicular conjunctivitis , can occur in contact lens wearers and is similar in appearance to vernal keratoconjunctivitis.
    • It usually occurs in soft contact lens wearers, but is occasionally seen in hard lens wearers, and may be due to the lens material itself, or the lens cleansing material, which contains thiomersal.
    • Sometimes the condition improves with a decreased wearing time, occasionally changing the lens to another polymer or soaking the lens in sterile water after an antibacterial solution.

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    First Food To Avoid: Meat

    Meat carries numerous hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, pollutants, bacteria, and viruses into your body. We store all this in our body fat, so it continues to fester inside our body even after its been digested. When you stop eating meat, you stop eating extra hormones, prevent antibiotic overdose, avoid toxic pesticides, eliminate dangerous pollutants, and decrease exposure to scary viruses and bacteria.

    The FDA and USDA allow factory farmers to use hormones to promote growth and milk production in their cattle. Two out of every three cattle raised for slaughter are treated with natural and synthetic forms of estrogen and progesterone and other hormones linked to breast cancer and colon cancer in humans. These hormones cause a slew of problems and affect the entire food chain as they get passed on to humans that consume the animal product, the surrounding ecosystem including plants and fish soak up the hormones as well causing an imbalance in humans.

    Factory farmers use toxic pesticides to ward off insects, kill weeds, and protect their financial investment. This is the same feed that is mixed with antibiotics and hormones to feed the livestock. We can usually wash most of this off our produce or not use it at all with organic produce, but animals absorb the pesticides in the food they eat, which ends up in your dinner.

    What About Fish?

    Taking an omega-3 supplement helps reduce toxicities if taking a high quality one like our Heyedrate Omega-3 for Eye Health.

    Allergy Treatments To Prevent The Symptoms

    Do You Have Food Allergies

    The best solution to prevent symptoms is to avoid the allergy trigger. Once you know what is causing the allergic reaction, then you need be to proactive about avoiding that food in the future.

    For people with severe allergies who are at risk of anaphylaxis, its smart to always have an epi-pen on hand. This shot can be administered in an emergency, giving you time to get to the emergency room.

    Hay fever or seasonal allergies that affect the eyes can be managed using medication, such as antihistamine pills. Its also helpful to use an air filter in your home if you notice frequent symptoms.

    Any time you are experiencing allergy symptoms that affect the eyes, its smart to talk to an eye doctor about your symptoms. Contact our team to schedule an eye exam.

    Also, dont underestimate the importance of talking to an optometrist about your eye health concerns.Scheduling regular eye exams is an important step to prevent computer vision syndrome.

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    What To Do If You Have An Allergic Reaction

    For minor allergic reactions, over-the-counter decongestantsand antihistamines can usually provide relief. Antihistaminescan help prevent and treat symptoms like hives, while decongestants can helpclear a congested nose. Both options are usually available in tablet, eye dropor nasal spray forms at your local pharmacy or drug store.

    For skin irritation, ice and topical creams that containcorticosteroids can help alleviate swelling, redness and itching. If theseover-the-counter allergy solutions dont do the trick, make an appointment withyour doctor.

    Preventing Food Allergy In Children

    Allergy prevention in children is an active area of research. Findings to date indicate that:

    • prenatal there is no conclusive evidence that avoiding allergens in pregnancy will help prevent allergies in your child
    • postnatal exclusive breastfeeding during the first four to six months appears to protect against the development of allergies in early childhood.
    • introducing solid foods around six months is recommended, preferably while continuing to breastfeed
    • breastfeeding avoidance of a food by a woman while breastfeeding is not recommended
    • soymilk formula studies have shown that using soymilk formula does not prevent the development of allergies in children
    • partially hydrolysed cows milk-based formula is not recommended to prevent the development of food allergy.

    Read Also: Is Kiwi A High Allergy Food

    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.

    Atopic keratoconjunctivitis

    • 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.


    Atopic cataracts

    • 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.

    Vernal keratoconjunctivitis

    What Is Causing My Eye Allergies

    Activated Charcoal for Food Allergies

    Allergic eye disease, also called allergic conjunctivitis or ocular allergy, is a condition in which an allergen irritates the conjunctiva, the delicate membrane covering the eye and the inside of the eyelid.

    The most common outdoor allergens are grass, tree, and weed pollens. Because the amount of pollen in the air varies depending on the season, these are known as seasonal allergens. If your symptoms typically worsen during seasons when pollen counts are high, then you probably have seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, the most common type of eye allergy.

    Dust mites, pet hair and dander, and molds are common indoor allergens. These can cause eye allergies at any time of year. This type of eye allergy is known as perennial allergic conjunctivitis. Symptoms typically occur when you have been in close contact with or had significant exposure to an indoor allergen.

    Other triggers of eye allergies include eye drops or creams and cosmetics. Contact conjunctivitis can be caused by other chemicals that irritate the conjunctiva in sensitive persons.

    Read Also: What Helps Allergies Go Away

    How Do I Avoid Allergic Conjunctivitis

    If you want to avoid allergy-related eye problems, try to avoid exposure to the allergens that affect you. Stay inside during heavy pollen days. If driving, keep your windows shut and the air conditioning running to keep the air circulating. Use mattress and pillow covers to limit exposure to dust mites. Run air filters in your home to remove allergy-causing materials.

    Also, avoid rubbing your eyes. Because the capillaries in your skin break down somewhat with allergic conjunctivitis, rubbing your eyes can cause a raccoon eyes effect. Instead, use a cold compress. This will help relieve the symptoms listed above, CEENTA OphthalmologistPedro Cervantes, MD, said.

    When To Contact A Medical Professional

    • You have symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis that do not respond to self-care steps and over-the-counter treatment.
    • Your vision is affected.
    • You develop eye pain that is severe or becoming worse.
    • Your eyelids or the skin around your eyes becomes swollen or red.
    • You have a headache in addition to your other symptoms.

    Recommended Reading: How To Read An Allergy Test

    Fifth Food To Avoid: Genetically Modified Organisms Pesticides And Fertilizers

    Genetically Modified Organisms are simply foods or organisms that have been altered from their natural state to help combat heavy pesticide use, extreme temperatures, resist disease, and/or to battle insects. GMO labeling is required in 64 countries, but the United States and Canada do not require it because of corporate pressure.

    The most common GMO plants are corn, soybeans, cotton, potato, alfalfa, canola, papaya, squash, apple, and sugar beet. According to TIME magazine more than 90% of all soybean, cotton, and corn acreage in the US is used to grow genetically engineered crops.

    20 years ago, no genetically modified foods existed.

    So what is the big deal with GMOs?

    Crops are not genetically modified for nutritional reasons. Theyre modified for economic reasons. Faster growth, with pesticide resistance so they can add more pesticides during growth. Pesticide use continues to rise due to the creation of superweeds and hard-to-kill insects that are becoming resistant to pesticides.

    Fertilizers are also used to provide much needed nutrients to soils that used to exist prior to the use of pesticides. Multiple USDA studies reveal that the food currently grown on Americas chemical-intensive factory farms contain drastically less vitamins and essential minerals than the food produced 50 years ago .

    How to Avoid GMOs, Pesticides, & Fertilizers


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