Common Eye Allergies
Allergies affect more than just your nose, they can cause eye discomfort, too. Watery, red and itchy eyes are all common signs of a reaction. There are two types of eye allergies: Seasonal and perennial. Learn about what causes them, common eye allergy symptoms and how you can help protect yourself.
Seasonal and Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis
It’s no coincidence that allergies flare up in the late spring and early fall. This reaction is called seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or hay fever. It is typically brought on when grasses, weeds and trees release pollen into the air. Allergies can also be triggered by exposure to mold spores.
Similarly, perennial allergic conjunctivitis is also caused by pollen in the environment, except these allergens may be present year-round. Common triggers for perennial allergies are animal dander, dust mites and mold.
Eye Allergy Symptoms
While effects of perennial allergic conjunctivitis may be milder, eye allergy symptoms of both can include:
- Swelling and puffiness of the eyelids
- Burning, stinging, tearing or itchy eyes
- Mucus discharge
How to Avoid Allergies
Dealing with allergies can be disruptive to your daily routine. Try avoiding triggers by:
- Checking the pollen count. If it’s high, try limiting your time outdoors, close your windows and use an air conditioner instead of a fan to stay cool. Fans can circulate dust mites.
- If you do go outside, use protective sunglasses to shield your eyes. If you need prescription sunglasses, visit your local EyeCare Centre to choose from our wide collection of designer brands, such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, Coach and Vogue.
- When driving, keep your windows closed to avoid allergens from entering your car.
- Reduce your exposure to dust mites by washing your bed sheets and covers regularly.
- Sweep and mop frequently to eliminate any allergens that may have gathered inside the house.
- Use bleach when cleaning your bathroom to diminish mold buildup.
- To reduce mold inside your home, keep humidity low by using a dehumidifier.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes. Instead use a cool compress to alleviate any allergy symptoms.
Eye Allergy Relief
To ease discomfort, you may ask your doctor for prescription eyedrops. If eye allergies persist, an allergy shot may be recommended to reduce your symptoms. That said, you can also try any of the following remedies for short-term relief:
- Over-the-counter antihistamines. The same allergy medications used to relieve nasal reactions can be used for eye allergy relief.
- Sterile saline rinses can help flush out allergens from your eyes.
- Eyedrops with ketotifen can temporarily relieve eye allergy symptoms. Ask your optometrist about prescribing the correct eye drops.
While seasonal and perennial allergies aren’t a threat to your eyes or vision, symptoms may be an indicator of an infection or something more serious. At Pearle Vision, our optometrists can help you select a medication to relieve your eye allergies or they can refer you to a specialist if your symptoms are severe. For a consultation, arrange an eye exam at your neighborhood EyeCare Centre.
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