Allergies Or Infection Heres How You Can Tell
Whether ragweed or pet dander is the culprit, allergens affect the eyes in the same way.
Eye infections can come from many causes virus, bacteria, parasite or fungus and the symptoms vary with the cause, but in general, infections have a longer list of symptoms when compared to allergies.
The bottom line is that if anything more than tear-like fluids come from your eye or you feel eye pain, its likely more than allergies.
To get the right treatment, youll need your eye doctor to find out whats behind your eye problem. Eye allergies arent contagious but they can be miserable to deal with. If its an infection, you run the risk of damaging your eye and/or spreading it to others.
What Are The Symptoms
They include redness in the white of your eye or inner eyelid. Other warning signs: itching, tearing, blurred vision, a burning sensation, swollen eyelids, and sensitivity to light. Eye allergies can happen alone or with nasal allergies and an allergic skin condition called eczema. The only way to know for sure if it’s an allergy is to see your doctor.
How Can I Prevent Allergic Conjunctivitis
The best thing to do to prevent allergic conjunctivitis is to prevent exposure to allergen.
- Don’t rub or touch your eyes. If you touch anything you are allergic to and then touch your eyes, this can trigger allergic conjunctivitis.
- Wash your hands well before touching your eyes for any reason.
- Change to low allergy eye products if your symptoms seem to come on after using eye make-up. Discuss options with your pharmacist.
- Use your own flannel, towels, pillowcases and bed linen and change these regularly.
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Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis: Contact Lenses
Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a chronic inflammatory condition affecting the mucous membranes of the upper eyelids. It is most often caused by soft contact lenses, but it can occur with any type of lens, ocular prosthesis, or even exposed sutures.
If you suffer from giant papillary conjunctivitis, you may suffer from itchy eyes following removal of your contact lenses, irritation, redness, burning, mucous discharge, light sensitivity and increasing contact lens intolerance. These symptoms may begin months to years following your initial use of contact lenses. Sever symptoms such as blurring of vision can occur due to movement of your lenses secondary to the presence of giant cobblestones of mucosal tissue beneath the eyelid or from debris deposited on the lens during the underlying inflammatory process. This condition many occur more frequently if you have underlying allergies.
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.
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How Eye Allergies Are Diagnosed
When your eyes start to itch, swell, water consistently or turn red, you can visit an ophthalmologist for an official diagnosis and treatment plan. You may also want to visit an allergist to learn if you have food and environmental allergies.
Your eye doctor will run specific tests to rule out some potential causes of your misery. Theyll also need to know if you have any predisposing factors, including pre-existing allergies or parents with or a family history of allergies.
Only after providing an accurate diagnosis for allergic conjunctivitis can your doctor prescribe proper treatment to ease your symptoms.
Common eye tests for eye allergies include a slit lamp and a white blood cell test.
Get Relief From Eye Allergies
An effective way to relieve ocular symptoms due to allergies is to place a cold compress gently over the eyes. When that doesn’t do the trick, mild antihistamine eye drops can bring relief, followed by prescription eye drops for more severe symptoms. Eye allergies are highly individual and an eye doctor must perform a thorough eye exam to determine the best, most suitable treatment.
Several other ways to reduce or relieve symptoms exist as well. This includes wearing sunglasses when stepping outside to block pollen, dust, and other outdoor allergens from entering your eyes. Contact lenses may also irritate your eyes, so try taking those out if nothing else works. Finally, never rub your eyes while experiencing an allergic reaction. No matter how much they itch, rubbing will irritate your eyes will exacerbate symptoms.
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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.
Allergy Medication Can Help
Some medications that you take to treat hay fever, nasal allergies, runny nose, and throat and sinus problems may also help control eye allergies. Antihistamines and decongestants are available in capsule, pill, and liquid forms. Potential side effects of these medications may include dry eyes and drowsiness. Some kinds of decongestants may make you jittery or dizzy. If you have high blood pressure, certain ingredients in allergy medication may not be safe for you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist which medications are safe for you.
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Avoiding Allergens Indoors And Out
Allergic reactions are your eyes natural attempts to protect themselves from contaminants. Their reactions can be pretty dramatic, and it makes sense to reduce the effect of pollen, dust, mold, and other allergens on them. Allergens are small particles that also physically irritate the eye, providing discomfort in addition to the allergic reaction. Indoors, room and whole-house air filters including HEPA filters can reduce allergens in the air.
Regular cleaning, especially bedrooms, is important also, including surface dust, remediation of mold from lingering moisture, and cleaning HVAC ducts to reduce the spread of dust and allergens from your heating and cooling system. Keeping indoor humidity below 50% can significantly reduce insect and mold allergens.
Outdoors, wearing sunglasses or even wraparound sunglasses can help keep allergens from being blown into your eyes. Artificial tears can be used as needed to help with comfort and hydration of your eyes.
How To Get Relief From Eye Allergies
An effective way to relieve ocular symptoms due to allergies is to place a cold compress gently over the eyes. When that does not do the trick, mild antihistamine eye drops generally bring relief, followed by prescription eye drops for more severe symptoms. Eye allergies are highly individual and an eye doctor must perform a thorough eye exam to determine the best, most suitable treatment.
Several other ways to reduce or relieve symptoms exist as well. Wearing sunglasses when stepping outside helps block pollen, dust, and other outdoor allergens from getting in your eyes. Contact lenses may also irritate your eyes, so try taking those out if nothing else works. Finally, never rub your eyes while experiencing an allergic reaction. No matter how much they itch, rubbing will irritate your eyes further and make things worse.
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Symptoms To Watch For
You may start to have symptoms as soon as the eyes come in contact with the allergen, or you may not have symptoms for two to four days.
Symptoms of eye allergies include:
- Red, irritated eyes
- Soreness, burning, or pain
- Sensitivity to light
Soothe Common Eye Allergies With These Home Remedies
While most people are getting excited about enjoying more time outside, over 66 million people in the US are dreading the eye allergies they experience this time of year. If you are one of the many people who have sensitive eyes, the pursuit of relief from common allergy symptoms can seem endless.
Symptoms of Common Eye Allergies:
- Slight eyelid swelling
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How Can I Reduce Allergic Reactions
First of all, resist the urge to rub your eyes, it will only make your inflammation worse! If you are experiencing itching and irritation, try using a cool damp washcloth on your eyes a few times a day. Brandon Eyes recommend an over-the-counter topical antihistamine. Oral antihistamines can sometimes cause eye dryness as a side effect, which can make eye inflammation worse.
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.
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What To Do If Its An Infection
An infection in the skin is called cellulitis. The skin around your eye will become red and may hurt. You will need antibiotics to relieve this swelling. Cellulitis usually affects the legs but can occur anywhere.
Symptoms that indicate the need for emergency treatment include:
- high temperature
- feeling that something is stuck inside your eye
- inability to move your eye muscle
Certain conditions that cause a swollen eye require medical attention. Cancers of the eye are rare but they may cause the eye to push forward, making it seem like the eyelid is swollen when it is actually pressure from the cancer.
Only a doctor can diagnose whats causing your eyelid to swell. But it may help if you can note any difference between:
- symptoms that came before or after
- presence or absence of pain
- an identifiable lump or general swelling
- inability to move your eye muscle or vision changes
Some people prefer to seek medical treatment immediately so they can get an accurate diagnosis and antibiotics. Always see a doctor if your cyst, blocked tear duct, or other cause of swelling does not clear up after a few weeks.
Allergic Conjunctivitis: Eye Allergies
Allergic conjunctivitis is a common allergic problem involving the conjunctiva of the eyes. It is most frequently associated with symptoms of itchy watery eyes often occurring during the allergy seasons. Repeatedly rubbing the eyes perpetuates the itchy feeling and creates a repetitive cycle of infection.
Allergic conjunctivitis may be seasonal, affecting you based upon changing concentrations of seasonal pollen. Symptoms may also be perennial when exposure to allergens such as dust mites, indoor molds or pet dander is year round. Symptoms may also be episodic, for example after occasional exposure to a pet.
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is the most common allergic disease involving the eye. Eye allergies can be severe and quite intolerable but not dangerous since they do not cause any permanent damage to the eye. The disease usually is self limiting with avoidance of the allergen. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis occurs more frequently than perennial allergic conjunctivitis. Symptoms typically occur in spring and fall depending on your specific sensitivities and the time and extent of pollen exposure.
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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.
Identifying And Removing The Cause
If your doctor has worked out what allergen is causing your symptoms, you need to minimise your risk of exposure to it, and where possible, remove it. Depending on the allergen, this may include:
- removing carpet, using barrier encasing of your pillows and mattress, or washing bedding in hot water to remove house dust mites
- removing pets from your house
- avoiding pollens by staying indoors during the hay fever season.
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When To Seek Help
Both eye allergies and dry eye are common ocular ailments, but these arent the only medical concerns that can affect your eyes.
See your doctor right away if you experience the following symptoms. They could indicate the presence of another eye issue caused by illness or injury.
- pus or yellowish discharge coming out of your eye, or crusty buildup in the eye , which may be signs of an infection associated with bacterial conjunctivitis
- a red bump near the eye or on the eyelid, which could possibly be a bug bite
- cuts or tears on your eyelid, or blood on the white part of your eye
- trouble seeing or blinking in one or both of your eyes
- a feeling like something is stuck in your eye despite irrigation with water, tears, or attempts to blink it out
- chronic pain in one or both eyes
- any changes to your pupil color, size, or shape
Note: Never rub your eye if you feel like theres an object in it, as this can lead to scratches and injuries.
Questions & Treatments For Eye Allergies
How to Treat Swollen Eye
Swollen eyes or eye swelling can be caused by a lack of sleep or by an allergic reaction. It is caused by fluid retention in the eye, and it can be distressing if not painful. A swollen eye can sometimes be treated at home. However, if the condition is painful, recurring, or chronic, it is strongly advised that you visit your eye doctor as soon as possible.
This is a condition that occurs when the eye becomes tender, or inflamed, and can even be painful. The treatment of this condition requires both prevention and treatment. Those whose allergies are acute enough to regularly cause this problem must avoid open-air during allergy season and be prepared with allergy drops and possibly other medications such as antihistamines. steroid eye drops may be necessary for those with recurring conjunctivitis.
Swollen Upper Eyelid
Another common manifestation of conjunctivitis, a swollen eyelid can be uncomfortable, but it is usually preferable to a swollen eye. Like eye swelling, those who develop this condition frequently need to take preventative measures to avoid allergens and be ready with allergy eye drops and other medications, as necessary.
Itchy Watery Eyes
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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.
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 doctor’s 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.
What Is Allergic Conjunctivitis
Red, burning, itching, tearing eyes are the main symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. The condition affects millions of Americans. More than one-third of children suffer from allergies. About 30% to 50% of children who have one parent with allergies will develop allergies. About 60% to 80% of children who have two allergic parents will develop allergies. Sufferers can feel downright miserable. Allergies cause fatigue, difficulties performing everyday activities, and may interfere with sleep. The condition may occur year round or seasonally. People who suffer may have dark circles under the eyes, known as allergic shiners. There are different types of allergic conjunctivitis and different triggers. Effective treatment depends on the type the patient has as well as identifying their unique triggers.
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