Feel like something is in your eyes? Are they red and irritated, but you don’t see anything in them? You may have eye allergies.
Eye allergies are also known as allergic conjunctivitis. The diagnosis is incredibly common and affects millions of folks every year. Your conjunctiva is the membrane covering the inside of your eyelids and the whites of your eyes. When something irritates this membrane, your eyes can water, itch, become red, get swollen and may even hurt.
Symptoms of eye allergies usually occur in combination with runny nose and sneezing but may just be limited to your eyes. Indoor allergens which are known triggers include dust mites, mold and pet dander. Outdoors you have grass, tree and weed pollens, which are more common in certain seasons. Other irritants include perfumes, cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust, especially diesel.
Symptoms of Eye Allergies:
- Watery, clear discharge
- Light sensitivity
- Symptoms are usually in both eyes, but one may be worse
- Often seen with runny nose and sneezing
Causes of Eye Allergies:
With eye allergies, your immune system sees airborne triggering substances as dangerous invaders, known as allergens. When your eyes contact these allergens, your body reacts by making antibodies. When these antibodies interact with both your immune cells and the triggering allergens, your body releases histamine and other chemicals that cause the symptoms of allergies.
Treatment Options for Eye Allergies:
- Lifestyle modifications – following up on your allergy testing results, we can help you avoid exposure to specific allergens that trigger your eye allergies, including:
- Showering after being outside
- Keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning
- Wearing glasses outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes
- Keeping pets out of your bedroom and washing your hands after any petting
- Over-the-counter medications – medications can help control your inflammation and frequency of eye allergy attacks, ssuch as artificial tears, decongestant eye drops for short term use and antihistamines
- Advanced medications – if over-the-counter medications are ineffective, we can prescribe various oral medications and eye drops that can help control your symptoms
- Allergen immunotherapy – allergen immunotherapy can help desensitize your eyes and body to your unique triggering allergens, also reducing eye inflammation and symptoms
Our specialists will work closely with you using our clinically established medications, allergen immunotherapy and lifestyle modifications. Simply avoiding substances that trigger your eye allergies can help reduce your symptoms and need for medications. Our allergy testing helps identify your triggering substances.