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Eye Allergies: Types, Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Team AckoOct 28, 2022

People with allergies are often quick to seek help if they experience symptoms like sniffling, sneezing, or nasal congestion. However, most people are unaware that allergies can also affect the eyes. You may experience redness, itching, burning, and watery eyes, as well as swelling of the eyelids.

Eye allergy symptoms are easily visible, making them easy to identify. Getting treatment for these allergies as soon as possible is best for avoiding further complications.

Have you been experiencing irritation or pain in your eyes? There is a good chance that it is the first sign of an eye allergy! Stay tuned to the end for all the details about eye allergies.

Eye Allergies

Contents

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What is an Eye Allergy?

An eye allergy is an allergic reaction that occurs when an irritating substance comes into contact with the eye. Such a substance is called an allergen. The most common allergens are pollen, dust, and smoke. In most cases, the immune system protects the body against viruses and bacteria that are harmful to the body.

However, the immune system mistakenly interprets an allergen as a dangerous substance when someone has allergies. Even though the allergen might be harmless otherwise, the immune system produces chemicals that fight it. As a result of the reaction, the eyes become red, irritated, and itchy.

Most eye allergy symptoms can usually be relieved by over-the-counter (OTC) medications, but patients with severe allergies may need additional treatment.

What Are The Types of Eye Allergies?

An eye allergy can be seasonal or perennial.

  • Seasonal allergies: Seasonal allergies are the most common during certain seasons of the year, usually in the early spring, summer and autumn. Many airborne allergens trigger these allergies, including grass pollen, tree pollen, and mold spores.

  • Perennial allergies: The symptoms of perennial allergies are present all year long. It is primarily caused by dust mites, feathers (in bedding), and animal dander (from pets). Additionally, perfumes, air pollution, cosmetics, smoke, chlorine, and some medicines can also have an impact.

If symptoms appear when you go outside on a windy, pollen-filled day or when you hold your pet, you can usually tell what triggered the allergy. A doctor can run tests if the trigger is unclear.

What Are The Symptoms of Eye Allergies?

The following symptoms may occur as a result of eye allergies:

  • Burning or itchy eyes

  • Watery discharge from the eyes

  • Pink or red eyes

  • Scaling on the skin around the eyes 

  • Puffy or swollen eyelids in the morning

  • Sensitivity to lights

In some cases, both eyes are affected, while in others, one eye is affected. Additionally, sneezing, runny nose, or congestion may also accompany these symptoms.

What Are The Causes of Eye Allergies?

An eye allergy is primarily caused by allergens, as discussed previously. Your eyes can react to these allergens, resulting in such allergies. The following allergens are commonly found in the air:

  • Pollen

  • Animal dander

  • Dust

  • Smoke 

  • Mould

Grass, trees and weed pollen are common sources of eye allergies. You might suffer from such allergies if you are continually exposed to smoke, chlorine, perfumes, or cosmetics. Some medications and drugs can also cause these side effects.

How to Diagnose Eye Allergies?

If you notice symptoms of eye allergies, immediately visit an ophthalmologist for an eye examination.

During the examination, the ophthalmologist will check your eyes for symptoms of allergies. They may also order the following tests:

  • During a skin test for allergies, your doctor exposes your skin to certain allergens and examines how your body reacts.

  • Your doctor may recommend a blood test to determine if your body produces antibodies that protect it from certain allergens.

  • Taking a scrape of your conjunctiva tissue may be necessary to examine your white blood cells. If you have allergies, your eosinophils become activated.

How Are Eye Allergies Treated?

Avoiding the allergen causing an eye allergy is the best way to treat it. However, it's sometimes not possible to do this, especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies.

Luckily, many treatments are available to relieve the symptoms of eye allergies.

1. Medications

When eye allergies are present along with other allergy symptoms, it may be beneficial to treat them with oral and nasal medications. Among them are:

  • An antihistamine, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin)

  • Decongestants, such as oxymetazoline (Afrin) and pseudoephedrine (Sudafed)

  • Prednisone (Deltasone) and other steroids

2. Allergy Shots

It may be advisable to get allergy shots if your symptoms do not improve with medication. Here, a series of injections of the allergen is used as an immunotherapy treatment for allergies.

During the course of the shot, the amount of allergen steadily increases. Allergy shots reduce the severity of your allergic reactions by changing your body's response to the allergen.

Eye allergies can be treated with a range of prescription and over-the-counter eye drops.

A common ingredient in eye drops used to treat allergies is olopatadine hydrochloride, which relieves allergy symptoms. Pataday and Pazeo are two brands of such eye drops.

A lubricant eye drop, such as artificial tears, is also available over-the-counter. Using them can help wash allergens out of the eyes. NSAIDs and antihistamines are other ingredients in eye drops. Acuvail (Acular) and ketorolac (Acular) are prescription NSAID eye drops. There are eye drops that need to be used daily and others that can be used if symptoms persist.

Initially, eye drops may burn or sting. It usually takes just a few minutes for any unpleasantness to disappear. In some cases, eye drops may irritate a side effect. Before choosing an OTC eye drop, ask your doctor which brand will work best.

3. Natural Remedies

The following herbal remedies are effective in treating eye allergies of varying degrees:

  • Allium cepa, which comes from red onions

  • Galphimia

  • Euphorbium

Contact your doctor before using these remedies to ensure their safety and effectiveness.

People with eye allergies may also benefit from a cool, moist washcloth. Several times a day, place the washcloth over your closed eyes. In addition to alleviating dryness, this can also provide relief from irritation. Remember that although this method treats the symptoms, it doesn't address the root cause of the allergy.

How to Prevent Eye Allergies?

You can avoid eye allergies by following these tips.

  • If contact lenses irritate your eyes, avoid wearing them.

  • Cold compresses can be used to soothe your eyes.

  • Stay indoors and use an air purifier to avoid allergens.

  • Protect your eyes by wearing wraparound sunglasses.

  • Do not rub your eyes or touch them.

  • Make sure your hands are clean before touching your eyes.

  • Do not wear eye makeup when suffering from an allergy.

Conclusion

Are your eyes red and puffy because of allergies? The condition, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, affects millions of people. If you need a quick fix before heading out in public, a cold compress can help. The key to long-term relief is knowing your triggers and treating the symptoms. Hopefully, this article helped you do that.

We are seeing an increase in lifestyle diseases. In order to stay fit, you should eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. On the other hand, a comprehensive health insurance policy will provide timely professional medical assistance and give you much-needed financial assistance in the event of a health scare. For hassle-free health insurance, look no further than ACKO's medical insurance plans.

FAQs

References:

  • https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/eye-allergy/

  • https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/ss/slideshow-eye-allergies

  • https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/allergic-conjunctivitis

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