How Can You Avoid Eye Problems
You can minimize your risks for both eye allergies and infections. Keeping windows shut and other easily implemented strategies can help you survive seasonal allergies, while an air purifier can help you cope with indoor allergies. Conjunctivitis is the most common eye infection, caused by a virus or bacteria. Either way, its easily spread.
You can minimize your risks for both eye allergies and infections. Keeping windows shut and other easily implemented strategies can help you survive seasonal allergies, while an air purifier can help you cope with indoor allergies.
Conjunctivitis is the most common eye infection, caused by a virus or bacteria. Either way, its easily spread.
Seasonal Vs Perennial Eye Allergies
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is the most common form of eye allergy, with grass and ragweed pollens being the most common seasonal triggers. It often accompanies other symptoms of seasonal allergies such as a runny, itchy nose, and nasal drainage. Perennial allergic conjunctivitis is also very common, with animal dander, feathers, and dust mites being the most important triggers.
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.
Read Also: Pseudoephedrine Allergic Reaction
What Causes Eye Allergies
Allergens are normally harmless substances that cause problems for individuals who are predisposed to allergic reactions. The most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergies are pollen, mold, dust and pet dander.
Food allergies and allergic reactions to bee stings or other insect bites typically do not affect the eyes as severely as airborne allergens do.
Contact Lenses And Allergies
If you wear contacts and suffer from allergies, youve probably experienced days when you wanted to stay in the shower for hours and hours. We can relate. But before you skip work or your classes, there are some steps you can take to alleviate your eye itchiness and redness.
Clean your contacts and follow the manufacturers recommended wear schedule. Try not to forget this important step! Write yourself a note. Create a reminder as an email or text.
Keep your rewetting drops handy. This is always a good idea, but pretty much mandatory on pollen-heavy days.
If possible, consider switching to daily contact lenses instead of two-week or monthly contacts. This can help reduce any allergy contaminants in your eyes.
Eye allergies are no fun. But there are steps we can take to help make things better. Ask your eye doctor or family MD at your next appointment for the right steps for you.
Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
Read Also: Blistered Lips Allergic Reaction
Discontinue Contact Lens Use
Wearing contact lenses can cause eyes to be itchy even at night. Some people may wear their contact lenses overnight, which may lead to further itching.
Contact lens users who get itchy eyes at night might think about taking their contact lenses out to give their eyes a break until the itching stops.
Also, changing the type of contact lens a person wears may help. A disposable contact lens may help prevent future eye irritation that can lead to itchy eyes at night.
Diagnosis Of Allergic Conjunctivitis
The diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis is made with a history of symptoms suggestive of eye allergies, an examination by a healthcare professional with findings consistent with conjunctivitis, and, often times, allergy testing showing seasonal or perennial allergies. A response to typical medications is helpful in the ultimate diagnosis of allergic eye disease, and failure to respond to medications may lead to a search for a different diagnosis.
Don’t Miss: Zyrtect
Eye Allergies And Contact Lenses
Contact lens discomfort is a common complaint during allergy season, leading some wearers to question whether they are becoming allergic to contact lenses.
The issue of being allergic to contacts also comes up from time to time when a person starts wearing silicone hydrogel contact lenses after successfully wearing standard soft contact lenses and experiences allergy-like symptoms.
Studies have shown that the culprit behind eye allergies associated with contact lens wear is not an allergic reaction to the contact lens itself, but to substances that accumulate on the surface of the lenses.
In the case of switching from regular soft contacts to silicone hydrogel lenses, the surface and chemical characteristics of the lens material may attract lens deposits more readily than the previous lens material, causing discomfort.
Many eye doctors believe the best type of soft contact lenses for people prone to eye allergies are daily disposable lenses that are discarded after a single use, which decreases the buildup of allergens and other debris on the lens surface.
Silicone hydrogel often is the preferred lens material for these lenses, because it allows significantly more oxygen to pass through the lens, compared with conventional soft contact lens materials.
Schedule an exam
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.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Allergy Medicine With Antibiotics
Treating Your Own Eye Allergies
Get off to a good start by avoiding whatever youâre allergic to. You can also try these tips:
Minimize clutter where allergens can collect. Limit pillows, bedding, draperies, and other linens, such as dust ruffles and canopies. Also, keep knick-knacks to a minimum, since they can collect dust.
Go with as little carpeting as possible. The carpet can harbor dust mites.
Clean regularly and thoroughly. Thatâll help limit dust and mold.
Get rid of any water leaks and standing water. Both encourage mold growth.
Use barriers and filters. Shield mattresses and pillows with covers that block allergens. Use allergen filters in both the furnace and the air conditioner in your home. Also, be sure to change them regularly. Keep outdoor allergens outdoors by keeping windows and doors closed.
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy or possible to avoid the things that trigger your allergies. If that’s the case for you, these at-home treatments may give you some relief:
Apply cool compresses to your eyes to ease the allergic reaction.
Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops.
Try not to rub your eyes, since that can make your symptoms worse.
What Are The Differences Between Eye Allergies And Pink Eye
The eyeball is covered by a thin membrane called the conjunctiva. When the conjunctiva becomes irritated or inflamed, conjunctivitis can occur.
Conjunctivitis is more commonly known as pink eye. It causes the eyes to become watery, itchy, and red or pink.
Although pink eye and eye allergies cause similar symptoms, theyre two distinct conditions.
Eye allergies are caused by an adverse immune reaction. Pink eye, however, is the result of eye allergies as well as other causes.
Normally, the immune system promotes chemical changes in the body that help fight off harmful invaders, such as bacteria and viruses.
However, in people with allergies, the immune system mistakenly identifies an allergen, which may be otherwise harmless, as a dangerous intruder and begins to fight against it.
Histamine is released when the eyes come into contact with an allergen. This substance causes many uncomfortable symptoms, such as itchy and watery eyes. It can also cause a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing.
An eye allergy may happen at any time of year. However, its especially common during the spring, summer, and fall months when trees, grasses, and plants are in bloom.
Such reactions can also occur when a sensitive person comes into contact with an allergen and rubs their eyes. Food allergies may also cause eye allergy symptoms.
Read Also: Robitussin Antihistamine
How Are Eye Allergies Treated
The first thing to do in dealing with eye allergies is to avoid whatever triggered it in the first placesometimes easier said than done. There are also a few treatments that can ease symptoms:
- Saline eye drops, can be used to help wash away the eye irritant
- Anti-allergy eye drops like hydraSense® for Allergy Therapy,
- Cold compresses
If these dont help, your doctor may suggest other over-the-counter allergy medications or prescribe other types of medications or eye drops.
A Closer Look At How Allergies Manifest In The Eyes
If you suffer from nasal allergy symptoms, its likely that your eyes will be affected, too. This is because the substances that trigger nasal allergy symptoms may also trigger eye allergies. Like the nose, the eyes are exposed and sensitive to allergens.
The medical term for eye allergy is allergic conjunctivitis . The conjunctiva is a membrane that lines the white of the eye and the eyelid. It houses many immune system cells that release irritating substances that cause symptoms during an allergic reaction.
You May Like: Loratadine Vs Zyrtec
Keeping The Eye Area Clean
Dirt, chemicals, and makeup can all cause itchy eyes.
Keeping the eyes clean at night can help relieve the itch. Firstly, a person may need to flush the irritant from the eye with cool water to clean the eye area.
Sometimes, gently rinsing the eyes with warm water on a washcloth may be enough.
People who wear makeup should consider removing all their makeup before cleaning the eye.
Bottom Line On Eye Allergies
Eye allergies may seem like a minor complaint relative to some other medical conditions, but can seriously affect your quality of life. Whether your allergies occur only seasonally or are instead present year-round, avoidance is not always possible, nor always a healthy option.
Fortunately, there are many good treatments available which can reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Everyone is different with regard to which treatments work best. Some people prefer oral treatments whereas others prefer eye drops. Caution is needed with some of these medications to prevent rebound symptoms such as with conjunctivitis medicamentosa.)
Working with your allergist can help you find the treatment which best controls your symptoms and restores your quality of life. For some people, especially those who are also coping with allergic rhinitis or asthma, allergy shots may eventually eliminate your eye symptoms so that medications are no longer needed.
You May Like: Fexofenadine Hcl Vs Cetirizine Hcl
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
Differential Diagnosis What Else Could It Be
There are a number of conditions that can cause red eyes, and some of these are emergencies. Conditions such as viral or bacterial pink eye are usually easily treated, whereas conditions such as glaucoma can result in vision loss without early diagnosis. Warning signs that suggest that something other than eye allergies include severe eye pain, significant light sensitivity decreased vision, colored halos, and a history of trauma to the eyes.
Also Check: Non Drowsy Robitussin
Eye Drops Can Provide Relief
Many of the eye drops you can buy over the counter from the pharmacy contain active ingredients that are the same as those that treat nasal allergies. Different active ingredients treat different aspects of allergies. Antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers prevent the release of histamine and other compounds that cause itchy eyes. Artificial tears and tear substitutes used for dry eye syndrome keep eyes lubricated and help rinse away allergens. drops minimize the appearance of blood vessels, which cause red eyes. Some kinds of eye drops may not be appropriate for some individuals, so discuss any you intend to use with your doctor first. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drops and steroids are available from your doctor by prescription. Ask your doctor for an eye care routine that is best for you.
Treatment Options For Eye Allergies
The “best” treatment overall for eye allergies is to avoid the allergic triggers – the allergens that lead to your symptoms. This, of course, is not always possible, and may actually be detrimental. For example, avoiding outdoor activities to reduce your eye allergy symptoms may lead to a lack of exercise and “cabin fever.” The balance between exposure to allergens and tolerating symptoms will be different for each person.
There are a number of simple measures for reducing dust mites and controlling other indoor allergens. With seasonal allergies, people may wish to limit their time outside when pollen counts are high or use an air purifier in their home.
Conservative or “natural treatments” can be helpful at times. These may include using cold compresses on your eyes and eyewashes with tear substitutes. While these can be of some benefit, many people need medications as well.
There are a number of different options for treating eye allergies, both over-the-counter, and prescription, and both oral preparations and those applied directly to your eyes.
Oral anti-histamines. Many people with allergic eye disease will receive benefit from oral antihistamines, such as prescription or over-the-counter Claritin Zyrtec Allegra Clarinex and Xyzal Older, first-generation antihistamines or hydroxyzine are also helpful, but are generally considered too sedating for routine use.
Topical antihistamines may be helpful and include:
Recommended Reading: Zyrtec Allergic Reactions
Why Are My Eyes Itchy Answers From An Expert
For many people, the warmth and beauty of spring are accompanied by irritated, burning and, sometimes, swollen eyes and eyelids. These symptoms, often attributed to allergy season, can be caused by other factors in the environment.
If you are one of the many who suffer from itchy eyes, understanding the cause is the key to treatment and relief.
Ophthalmologist Irene Kuo, M.D., of the Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins Medicine, explains the cause and the methods to keep in mind to help relieve your itchy eyes.
Eye allergies, whether seasonal or year-round, are often the cause of itchy eyes. These allergies can be triggered by pollen or pet dander. Irritants like dust and smoke, or products such as lotions, makeup or contact lens solutions can also cause symptoms similar to those of eye allergies. An allergist can conduct an allergy test to determine the specific allergens that are causing you discomfort.
Allergy Shots Are A Treatment Option
Allergy shots, or immunotherapy, are a series of injections to improve an individual’s tolerance to allergens. The treatment helps the immune system be less sensitized to allergens and it may help with eye allergies. At first, small amounts of the offending allergens are injected into an allergy sufferer. As treatment proceeds, increasing amounts of the allergens are injected. Treatment usually lasts several months. People who have severe allergies may be the most likely to benefit from allergy shots. The treatment may not provide complete relief and you may still need to rely on medications to keep your chronic allergy symptoms in check.
Don’t Miss: Allegra Drowsy Or Non Drowsy
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, eczema, or asthma. All of these are allergic diseases.