Written by True Eye Experts
Red, itchy, watery eyes and swollen eyelids (along with sneezing, congestion, or a runny nose)… these symptoms are a clear indication that allergy season has arrived. These allergic symptoms are caused by a reaction to allergens, which are substances in the environment that are usually harmless. If, however, you are one of the unlucky ones that are predisposed to allergies, these substances can illicit a serious and sometimes even debilitating allergic response. As opposed to food, medicine, or insect allergies which don’t often affect the eyes, eye allergies are a common symptom of airborne allergens including mold, pollen (from trees and flowers), dust and pet dander. The summer fall and spring are often the worst times for a high pollen count and many individuals suffer during these seasons. An allergic eye reaction occurs when your eye releases histamines in an effort to protect itself from a perceived threat (an allergen such as dust, pollen, animal dander, mold spores, eye drops, or airborne chemicals). The release of the histamines causes the symptoms of redness, itchiness, burning, and tearing. This response is also sometimes known as allergic conjunctivitis. The most common type of eye allergies is perennial and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Perennial eye allergies are a response to household allergens that exist all year round such as pet dander, mold, or dust mites. Seasonal allergies usually result from pollen from plants, grass, and trees that are found in the air and depend on the season and the types of pollens in the environment. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is often more severe than perennial and can cause puffy eyelids and itching which can make symptoms worse. The best way to reduce discomfort and prevent an allergic reaction is to stay away from allergens as much as possible. Here are some tips on how to reduce exposure:
If you have severe allergies, avoid contact lens wear or reduce wear time when allergies flare up, as contact lenses can worsen symptoms and do not fit as they normally would when the eyes are swollen. This is why having back up glasses is so important. Changing to one-day single-use disposable contacts can also sometimes reduce allergy symptoms. There are some steps you can take to alleviate symptoms of eye allergies. Over-the-counter solutions include artificial tears, decongestant eye drops (which shouldn’t be used for longer than a week), or oral antihistamines (which can sometimes worsen symptoms). If no eye drops are available, cool compresses (avoid heat) will also help to reduce the itch. If these treatments don’t work, you can get a prescription for stronger eye drops (antihistamine or short-term steroid drops to reduce symptoms), oral antihistamines, or possibly immunotherapy (such as allergy shots). If you are experiencing symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, don’t just assume they are allergies. See your eye doctor to determine the cause to ensure that it is not a more serious eye condition.
Our mission at True Eye Experts is simple — provide the best possible care to our patients. We make sure we’re doing this a few different ways. Our V-Eye-P Exam is one of the most comprehensive eye exams in the industry. We use state-of-the-art medical technology to screen, diagnose, and treat more conditions than most other providers in the area. We have an extensive collection of designer eyewear that can complement any patient’s face, style, and budget, and our advanced contact lens fitting process can help even “hard-to-fit” patients wear contacts comfortably. Book an appointment online at one of our True Eye Experts locations, conveniently located throughout Central Florida. Have questions or prefer to book over the phone? Give us a call today.
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