Eye Allergies - Definition, Types, Symptoms & Treatment Explained
The eyes are one of the most prized possessions of the human body since it gives you the power of vision. Identifying eye allergy is simple since the symptoms are easily visible. Usually, these occur when the eyes react to something irritating them, such as the allergen. It is best to consult a doctor and treat these allergies immediately to avoid further complications.
Are you suffering pain or irritation in your eyes? It could easily be the early symptoms of eye allergies! Stick till the end of this article to find out all about it.
What Are Eye Allergies?
Eye allergies such as conjunctivitis are pretty common. These are most likely to occur when your eyes react to allergens, subsequently producing a histamine substance to fight against it. It causes the eyelids and conjunctiva to become red and swollen, making them itchy. Such allergies do not spread through direct contact. Instead, environmental pollution is likely to cause these.
What Are the Types of Eye Allergies?
The following two types of eye allergy are commonly seen in patients.
- Seasonal allergies: As the name suggests, these happen at specific times of the year, commonly seen in early spring through summer, passing onto autumn. The allergens in the air usually trigger such allergies.
- Perennial allergies: These allergies usually happen all around the year. Moreover, exposure to dust mites and chemicals can also cause these.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Eye Allergies?
Are you wondering what are the symptoms of eye allergy? The following signs are commonly seen:
- Red and swollen eyes
- Itching in the eyes
- Burning in the eyes
- Watery discharge or tears
- Sensitivity to lights
What Are the Causes of Eye Allergies?
As discussed already, allergens constitute the primary causes of an eye allergy. Therefore, you can suffer from such allergies when your eyes react to these allergens. Some common allergens in the air include the following:
- Animal dander
Pollen from grasses, trees and weeds are common reasons for an eye allergy. Moreover, if you are constantly exposed to smoke, chlorine, perfume or cosmetics, you might face such allergies. Certain drugs and medicines can also cause these.
How to Diagnose Eye Allergies?
Once you start observing the symptoms of eye allergies, you should instantly visit ophthalmologists for checking your eye condition. For example, they might use a slit-lamp microscope to check if you have swollen blood vessels on the eye surface, which means conjunctivitis. They can also ask you about your medical history and the possibilities of such allergies in your family line.
Allergists might conduct a skin prick test to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. They might insert a small amount of allergen by pricking your skin to check the possibilities of adverse reactions. If you develop a red, swollen bump following this test, it means you have an allergy.
What Are the Treatments for Eye Allergies?
Doctors usually undertake the following treatments for an eye allergy.
Medication: Doctors often suggest certain oral and nasal medications for avoiding eye allergy symptoms. For instance, the release of histamine causes itchy and watery eyes. Antihistamines can reduce such allergic reactions. On the other hand, decongestants can help shrink your nasal passage for easy breathing. They might also suggest steroids such as prednisone cause changes in the mast cells, preventing them from releasing histamine.
Eye Drops: Over-the-counter eye drops help in treating eye allergies. A standard eye drop is olopatadine hydrochloride, an ingredient for relieving symptoms related to allergic reactions. Lubricant eye drops, such as artificial tears, are also helpful. Furthermore, doctors might also suggest antihistamines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These might be burning at first but can help you avoid long-term eye irritation.
Allergy Shots: If your condition does not improve with medicines and eye drops you can opt for allergy shots . These shots are a form of immunotherapy involving a series of injections against the allergens. As the allergens in your body might increase over time, the allergy shots help to modify your body’s response to the allergens. As a result, it reduces the severity of your allergic reactions.
Natural Remedies: Herbal remedies are commonly practised for recovering from eye allergies. Allium cepa, euphorbium and galphimia are widely used for such allergic reactions. However, you should consult with your doctor regarding the effectiveness and after-effects of these medicines.
How to Prevent Eye Allergies?
Now, the question is how to prevent eye allergies? The following tips will help you avoid such allergies.
- Avoid contact lenses if they cause eye irritation.
- Use a cold compress on your eyes.
- Avoid allergens by staying indoors, using an air purifier and changing air filters.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes.
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
- Wash your hands with soap before touching your eyes.
- Avoid wearing eye makeup during an allergy.
- Try to avoid sharing lenses and eye makeup with anyone else.
Therefore, it is evident that eye allergies have been a common problem recently. This article explains how they can be a serious health concern if left untreated. Diagnosing and treating such allergies are simple. Thus, it is advisable to visit your physician instantly and get treatment as soon as you notice the symptoms.