Living in central Ohio, allergens are plentiful. If you are experiencing eye irritation, itching, watering or redness, you may have allergy eyes.
More than 67 million Americans suffer from allergy symptoms, including hay fever. (pollen.com) Weather plays an important part for many allergy sufferers. Some suffer seasonally and other patients have symptoms year-round.
Eye allergens may include:
- airbourne sources such as pollen, grass, trees
- indoor allergens such as mold, dust or pet dander
- irritants such as cigarette smoke, cosmetics, perfume, etc.
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the eye comes in contact with an allergen. The body then produces histamine to fight off the allergen causing the eye to become red, swollen and itchy. Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis commonly known as “pink eye”, shares many of the same symptoms as allergic conjunctivitis. Unlike allergic conjunctivitis, bacterial and viral conjunctivitis is very contagious. Once the proper conjunctivitis is diagnosed, the correct treatment may be prescribed.
Allergies affect children too. The children of those with allergies have a greater chance of having allergies themselves.
Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious and most cases can be treated with allergy eye drops. The symptoms include:
- intense itching
- tearing and inflammation of the eyes
- watery nasal discharge
Eye Allergy Care
- Artificial tears
- Lid scrubs
- Alaway or Pataday OTC allergy drops
- Decrease or discontinue contact lens wear. Daily disposable lenses are the best option for allergy sufferers but wearing time must be limited.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses to protect your eyes from dust and pollen while outside.
- Over the counter oral allergy medication (Claritin, Zyrtec or Benadryl) can block the histamines your body is producing. These must be taken with caution because they also exacerbate dry eye.