What Is The Basic Anatomy Of The Outer Eye
Eye allergies mainly involve the conjunctiva, which is the tissue lining that covers the white surface of the eyeball and the inner folds of the eyelids. The conjunctiva is a barrier structure that is exposed to the environment and the many different allergens that become airborne. It is rich in blood vessels and contains more mast cells than the lungs.
The lacrimal glands are located in the upper and outer portions of the eye. They are responsible for producing the watery part of tears, which keeps the eye moist and washes away irritants. The tears also contain important parts of the immune defense such as immunoglobulins , lymphocytes , and enzymes.
The cornea is the transparent sheath in front of the lens of the eye. The cornea has no blood vessels and very little immune activity.
Allergic conjunctivitis, also called “allergic rhinoconjunctivitis,” is the most common allergic eye disorder. The condition is usually seasonal and is associated with hay fever. The main cause is pollens, although indoor allergens such as dust mites, molds, and dander from household pets such as cats and dogs may affect the eyes year-round. Typical complaints include itching, redness, tearing, burning, watery discharge, and eyelid swelling. To a large degree, the acute symptoms appear related to histamine release.
Conjunctivitis with atopic dermatitis
Giant papillary conjunctivitis
What Can You Give Dogs With Eye Allergies
In mild cases, simply flushing the eyes with sterile saline once or twice a day may be enough to remove the allergen and resolve the symptoms.
You should not use contact solution for this purpose.
Although antihistamines provide relief for people with eye-related allergies, antihistamines have a variable effect in dogs with this condition. Therefore, eyedrops containing steroids are often the treatment of choice for dogs with allergic conjunctivitis.
Its important to note that steroid-based eyedrops can be very harmful to dogs with other, similar diseases in the eyes, so you should never start treatment without first consulting your veterinarian.
Severe cases may require the use of oral medications in addition to eyedrops.
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 allergy 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 pink eye are a common symptom of eye allergies.
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Help Is At Hand The Right Glasses Provide Protection
Glasses offer some protection to your distressed eyes during the hay fever season regardless of whether they are sunglasses or prescription eyeglasses. Wrap models and frames with broad sides are ideal for allergy sufferers. These protect sensitive eyes against bright light, drafts and partly against pollen floating around in the air.
Symptoms Of Allergies Affecting The Eyes
You may experience the following symptoms when you have an eye allergy:
- Red eyes
- Abnormal sensitivity to light
- Itchy eyes
While nasal and eye allergies can affect you at the same time, neither of them causes the other. Both your eyes and nose may have been exposed to an allergen if you get these two conditions simultaneously.
In that case, you may also experience other discomforts like nasal congestion, post-nasal drip, coughing and frequent sneezing.
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Best For Redness: Bausch & Lomb Opcon
Relief of pollen, grass, and pet dander allergies
May cause redness rebound
May cause stinging and burning
If redness is your biggest problem, youll probably have to choose drops that contain a decongestant like naphazoline. This ingredient acts as a vasoconstrictor, meaning it shrinks the inflamed blood vessels so they become less noticeable.
Opcon-A is a good choice for redness caused by allergies because it also contains an antihistamine. It can do double-duty on your symptoms, reducing redness on the spot while also relieving itching due to grass, pollen, ragweed, and pets.
You need to be careful, though, about overusing this product: your eyes can become accustomed to the decongestant, and more severe redness can result when you stop using it . But intermittent useup to four times per day for 72 hours at a timeis safe.
Active Ingredients: Naphazoline HCI 0.02675%, Pheniramine maleate 0.315% | Dosage: 1 or 2 drops in the affected eye up to 4 times daily
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.
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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.
Antihistamine Pills And Eye Drops
Antihistamine pills and liquids work by blocking histamine to relieve watery, itchy eyes. They include cetirizine , diphenhydramine , fexofenadine , or loratadine , among others. Some may cause drowsiness.
Antihistamine eye drops work well for itchy, watery eyes. You may need to use them several times a day, but donât use the over-the-counter kinds for more than 2-3 days. Prescription kinds include azelastine hydrochloride , cetirizine ophthalmic , emedastine difumarate , levocabastine , and olopatadine .
They are often combined with other kinds of drops, including some that shrink swollen blood vessels in your eye. You shouldnât use these kinds of drops, called or âget the red outâ drops, for more than a few days at a time. They can also lead to a rebound redness if used too frequently. Donât use them at all if you have glaucoma.
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Puffy Eyes: Allergies Or Conjunctivitis
If your child has puffy, red eyes you may wonder if they have allergies or conjunctivitis, an infection of the conjunctiva, also called pink eye. There are a couple of differences between the conditions that can help you figure out which one is causing your child’s symptoms.
- Generally, allergies affect both eyes at the same time.
- A child with allergies will often have other symptoms like sneezing or a stuffy nose.
Conjunctivitis and Irritants
- Exposure to environmental irritants and conjunctivitis usually start in one eye.
- A child that has allergies usually does not have discharge from their eyes and they do not have a fever, but these symptoms often occur with an infection like conjunctivitis.
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.
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Tips For Avoiding Eye Allergies
- Try to keep your windows closed during allergy season
- Try not to rub or touch your eyes
- Wash your hands often
- Wash your bed sheets in hot water to kill off allergens
- Keep pets out of your bedroom
- Wear sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes
- Use a vacuum with an allergy/asthma filter
What Is The Treatment For Eye Allergies
The first and best option is to avoid contact with substances that trigger your eye allergies. If that is not enough, consider using:
- Saline eye drops to wash away the allergens
- Over-the-counter medicine or eye drops
- Prescription treatments from your doctor
- Allergy shots from your doctor
Eye allergy symptoms may disappear completely when the allergen is removed or after the allergy is treated. Talk to your pharmacist and health care provider about what is best for you.
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What Facts Should I Know About Eye Allergies
Why do I have eye allergies?
Approximately 20% of the population suffers from allergic conditions, the most common environmental allergies. Allergic reactions to environmental agents that involve the eyes are common. An allergic reaction that affects the conjunctiva, a clear layer of the mucous membrane overlying the eyes, is referred to as allergic conjunctivitis.
Allergic conjunctivitis is divided into several major subtypes, with the most common subtypes being seasonal allergic conjunctivitis and perennial allergic conjunctivitis . SAC and PAC are triggered by an immune reaction involving a sensitized individual and an allergen. Simply stated, this means that if someone is allergic to a particular substance, such as pollen, and then is exposed to it, this triggers an allergic reaction.
What are the symptoms of eye allergies?
In the eyes, the allergic reaction causes itchy eyes, watery eyes, red eyes, and/or swollen eyes.
How Are Eye Allergies Diagnosed
Eye allergies are best diagnosed by an allergist, someone who specializes in diagnosing and treating allergies. Seeing an allergist is particularly important if you have other allergy-related symptoms, such as asthma or eczema.
The allergist will first ask you about your medical history and symptoms, including when they started and how long theyve persisted.
Then theyll perform a skin prick test to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. A skin prick test involves pricking the skin and inserting small amounts of suspected allergens to see if theres an adverse reaction.
A red, swollen bump will indicate an allergic reaction. This helps the allergist identify which allergens youre most sensitive to, allowing them to determine the best course of treatment.
The best way to treat an eye allergy is to avoid the allergen thats causing it. However, this isnt always possible, especially if you have seasonal allergies.
Luckily, numerous different treatments can relieve eye allergy symptoms.
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Can Itchy Eyes Be Prevented
If the itching is caused by an allergy, identify what you are allergic to and remove it. Your doctor can help you and may refer you to a specialist immunologist or allergist if a more complicated assessment is needed. For example, house dust mites and pet fur are common triggers. You should also talk to your doctor about whether changing your medicines could help prevent itchy eyes.
Try to avoid things that can irritate the eyes, such as dry air, wind, pollen, cigarette smoke, dust, chemicals, strong smells, or staring at a screen for a long time. Make a conscious effort to blink more often to lubricate your eyes.
Always use hypoallergenic products near your eyes and use eye protection to prevent pollen, dust or sand from getting into your eyes. Eating a diet with plenty of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids can also help.
When To See A Doctor
Since there are many potential causes of dry eye, a person should talk to their doctor if they have persistent dry eyes or their symptoms do not get any better. A doctor can check for other possible causes of the dryness and make a diagnosis.
A doctor will often ask about symptoms and examine the affected eye. According to the American Optometric Association, a doctor will likely check:
- how the eye responds to light
- how the mechanics are working
- tear production
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When To Seek Medical Advice
If your symptoms dont improve after using over-the-counter anti-histamines, make an appointment to see your GP. They may be able to recommend other treatments, such as anti-histamine drops that are only available on prescription.
On occasions, marked allergic reactions may need review by an eye specialist and treatment with medication that dampens down the immune reaction such as steroids.
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 allergy 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.
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What Not To Do
- Dont rub your eyes.Though it may be tempting, this can spread the allergens around and irritate the eye further. Although it feels great in the short-term, it often makes things much worse, Dr. Vasan said.
- Avoid redness reliever medications.Eye drops marketed as redness relievers are effective in hiding signs of eye allergies making the eyes nice and white but they dont do much to make you feel better. And, whats worse is that people can build a tolerance to these medications. When they stop taking the drops, their eyes become red.
- Dont ignore signs of other problems.Red, irritated eyes can be signs of eye conditions other than allergic conjunctivitis. If you notice a thicker discharge coming from the eye, see an eye doctor, as it could be a sign of a viral infection.
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.
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What Actually Triggers An Eye Allergy
Depending on the season of the year, it is usually pollen that causes the most problems. However, there are many other factors that can irritate the conjunctiva of our eyes: animal hairs, dust mites, fungal spores, insect poisons or intolerance to certain types of food, such as gluten. It is essential for the sufferer to find out what exactly is causing his or her allergy. Various tests which can be performed by dermatologists or allergy specialists are available for this purpose. One example is the prick test, which is primarily used to detect a pollen allergy droplets containing various types of pollen are applied and then scratched into the skin. Don’t worry: this does not cause scars. After around 20 minutes, the doctor can tell from the reaction of the skin whether an allergy is present and, if it is, to what, and then develop the appropriate therapy.
The plaster test is used primarily to detect contact allergies. Here, several plasters are adhered to the patient’s back. They contain the substances that are assumed to be the culprits triggering the allergy. The plasters are normally worn for a period of 24 to 48 hours and the show the doctor at a single glance to what substances the skin is allergic.
What Causes Allergic Rhinitis
Allergic rhinitis is caused by the immune system reacting to an allergen as if it were harmful.
This results in cells releasing a number of chemicals that cause the inside layer of your nose to become swollen and too much mucus to be produced.
Common allergens that cause allergic rhinitis include pollen , as well as mould spores, house dust mites, and flakes of skin or droplets of urine or saliva from certain animals.
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