An allergic reaction can occur in any part of the body such as the skin and the airways. But did you know there’s also such a thing as eye allergies?
Eye allergies often are hereditary and they are triggered by substances which are mostly harmless to the majority of the population. Allergens such as pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are airborne. Some people are allergic to eye antibiotics as well as the preservatives in eye lubricants.
When these allergens come in contact with the eyes, they release histamine which triggers an allergic reaction with the common signs and symptoms:
- Itchy, red eyes and swollen eyelids
- Runny nose
- Sneezing and coughing
- Itchy nose, mouth or throat
- Sinus congestion
- Headache from clogged sinuses
- Discomfort leading to lack of sleep and fatigue.
When these symptoms appear, there are several approaches you can do to manage eye allergies at home.
- The first step in controlling eye allergies is to limit your exposure to allergens. Pollen count is particularly high in the morning and early evening. If you have to go out, wear eyeglasses or sunglasses to help block pollen from your eyes. When driving, keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner instead.
- Limit exposure to dust mites by using hypoallergenic pillows. As for beddings, they need to be washed in water that’s at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Use a damp mop or rag to clean your floors. When sweeping, dust, pollen and other allergens are stirred into the air.
- If your pet is causing allergies, keep it outside of your room as much as possible.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes to keep symptoms from getting worse and use a cool compress instead.
For those who are wearing contact lenses, the allergy season might make your contacts uncomfortable as airborne allergens can easily get into your lenses. These allergens can also cause excessive production of tears which stick to your contacts can cause blurring. For relief, you can use daily disposable contact lenses which don’t develop irritating deposits that can build up over time.
General treatment for eye allergies involves the use of over-the-counter. There are different medications such as:
- Sterile saline rinses which soothe irritated eyes.
- Decongestant eye drops which reduce eye redness.
- Eye drops with anti-inflammatory properties to relieve allergy symptoms.
- Oral medications with antihistamine to reduce symptoms.
The next time you’re encumbered by signs and symptoms of eye allergy, contact the Palm Beach Eye Center! For your convenience, you can schedule an appointment online with one of Palm Beach Eye Center’s experienced eye doctors like Wayne C. Barish, MD and Brad D. Simons, MD, PhD!