Understanding Symptoms of Eye Allergies

June 29th, 2013
man blowing nose with allergies

Itchy, swollen, red and watery eyes may not be from an illness, but could be the symptoms of eye allergies. Often, when people think of allergies, they think of runny noses, coughing and sneezing, but pollen, dust mites, pet dander, feathers and other common allergens can also cause eye allergy symptoms.

Causes of Eye Allergies

The symptoms of eye allergies often seem like other illnesses, such as pink eye, but an eye allergy is not contagious. Known as allergic conjunctivitis, the symptoms of eye allergies occur just like other allergic reactions when the body’s immune system reacts to things that are not actually harmful.

Blood vessels in the eye swell, and eyes get red, teary and itchy. The most common cause of eye allergies is pollen from grass, weeds and trees, and these trigger what is known as seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Dust, pet dander and other allergens found indoors are known as chronic conjunctivitis, while cosmetics, perfume or other chemicals trigger what is know as contact conjunctivitis.

Symptoms of Eye Allergies

For many people, symptoms of eye allergies are worse in the spring as pollen counts rise when trees, plants and grass begin germinating. The symptoms include red, irritated eyes, itchiness, and excessive tearing or runny eyes. In some cases, eyelids may be swollen, and there may be soreness, burning or pain. Some patients also report sensitivity to light. Most patients with eye allergies also suffer from other allergy symptoms, such as a stuffy, runny nose or sneezing, not all patients report those symptoms.

Relief for Symptoms of Eye Allergies

Many patients report relief from the symptoms of eye allergies from the same medications used for other types of allergies. Antihistamines work to block histamines, which often cause water, itchy eyes. These medications are available in pill, liquid, and even eye drop form. In severe cases, a doctor may prescribe decongestant eye drops to shrink swollen blood vessels, but these should not be used for more than a few days at a time, and should not be used by glaucoma patients. There are eye drops available that patients sometimes use prior to developing symptoms. These types of drops last longer than antihistamine drops, but take longer to work. For those suffering from severe symptoms of eye allergies, steroid eye drops may be indicated, but must only be used for a short time due to the risk of potential side effects.

If you are suffering from symptoms of eye allergies, visit us at Kleiman Evangelista or call 1-800-714-2020 for more information.

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