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Allergies (Red, Itchy, Burning Eyes?)

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Procedures

Why Do Allergies Affect Our Eyes?

Allergic conjunctivitis develops when your body’s immune system overreacts to something in the environment that is usually considered completely harmless. When these allergens come into contact with the antibodies in your system, the mast cells in your eyes spring into action.

Mast cells are loaded with histamine and respond by releasing their chemicals in an attempt to fight these “allergen invaders”. This reaction manifests as typical allergy symptoms (outlined below).

What Causes Eye Allergies?

  • Indoor Allergens – Pet dander, dust mites, mold, feather bedding (such as duvets and pillows)
  • Outdoor Allergens – Grass, trees, pollen, weeds, hay
  • Irritants – Perfume, eye makeup, vehicle exhaust, smoke

What Are The Symptoms of Eye Allergies?

The following symptoms may be experienced in any combination:

  • Red, irritated eyes – the whites of the eyes and eyelids are red
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • Heightened sensitivity to light
  • Excessive tearing  

How Are Eye Allergies Treated?

Determining the best course of action when it comes to properly treating and managing your allergies will depend on the cause of them in the first place.

We understand it isn’t realistic to live your life cooped up inside or in a large bubble, so we have comprised a list of options to help you manage your eye allergy symptoms.

Reduce Your Exposure to Allergens

A large step to reducing your exposure to allergen begins in your home. We recommend doing your absolute best to reduce the dust throughout your house. This can be done by investing in high quality air filters for your furnace/air conditioner, wet cloth dusting a few times a week, and washing your bedding often. Keep your windows closed during peak allergy season, and try to limit your time outside when you can.

Protect your eyes where you can by reducing the amount of pollen and other environmental allergens getting into your eyes. This can be done simply by wearing your eyeglasses or sunglasses when you are outside.

Do Not Rub Your Eyes

Rubbing your eyes will only serve to aggravate your symptoms.

Take Antihistamines

Prevent that release of histamine from the mast cells in your eyes with antihistamines. You can purchase them over the counter in the following forms: oral medication, patches, and lubricating eye drops.

Eye drops or oral  medication may be prescribed by our Optometrist if you find over the counter medications are not providing effective relief.