Eye Allergies

Do you ever have red, itchy, or burning eyes? Do your eyelids get puffy or swollen from all the irritation? Do you feel like you want to rub and itch them endlessly, but doing so brings no relief and only makes it worse? If so, you may be suffering from allergic conjunctivitis, otherwise known as eye allergies.

Fortunately, because allergies involving the eyes are a common problem, there are a wide variety of solutions and treatments available to reduce or eliminate the painful symptoms.

Causes of Eye Allergies

As the name implies, Allergic Conjunctivitis is caused by an allergic reaction. Whenever you come in contact with an allergen that your are allergic to, your body releases chemicals (histamines) into your blood in order to fight off the allergens. These chemicals (and not the allergen!) are responsible for the symptoms you experience.

Common allergens that can cause eye irritation:

  • Pollen from trees, grasses, or weeds
  • Household dust
  • Mold spores
  • Pet and animal dander
  • Contacts and contact solution (certain types may irritate your eyes)

Symptoms

a kid with eye allergies caused by allergic conjunctivits
  • Itchy eyes
  • Red eyes, caused by dilated blood vessels in the white of the eye
  • Watery/teary eyes
  • Eye discharge
  • Puffy, swollen eyelids

Treatments

The best treatment is prevention! As with many other types of seasonal allergies, allergies with the eyes are best treated by preventing them from occurring in the first place. The best way to do this is by avoiding the pollens and allergens that cause irritation to your eyes. We have many practical Allergen Avoidance tips listed here, if you are interested in this form of allergic conjunctivitis treatment.

However, allergen avoidance can be difficult to accomplish all the time. This is even more true if you plan to spend any amount of time outdoors during local allergy seasons. Therefore, another recommended treatment for eye allergies is taking an anti-histamines. This should always be done before you go outside if you want to prevent the symptoms from occurring.

Suggested Treatments
  • Avoid allergens- Use avoidance techniques, or an air purifier while indoors
  • Use antihistamines to prevent symptoms before they occur
  • Use antihistamine drops in your eyes to reduce symptoms once they start to occur

Types of Eye Allergies

  • Chronic allergic conjunctivitis- Can occur any time year round. It is less common, but often more severe than seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. The chronic cases are often misdiagnosed as dry eyes or nonallergic conjunctivits.
  • Seasonal allergic conjuctivitis- tends to come and go with the local pollen seasons. This symptoms tend to be less severe since your eyes are irritated for a shorter period of time. The irritation also tends to subside once the seasonal allergen levels come down.