What is an Eye Allergy?

Eye allergies, also called ‘allergic conjunctivitis’ is the inflammation of the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and outside of the eyeball. Eye allergies are common eye conditions and you usually see redness and itching in both eyes making your eyes look puffy and swollen. The treatment commonly includes the usage of prescription eye drops that can provide instant relief. The other ways are oral medication or nasal sprays or the use of allergy shots in case medication doesn’t alleviate the lingering symptoms. Learn more about eye allergies here.

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Allergic conjunctivitis or eye allergy can cause you great discomfort with itchy eyes that water, or worse still, burn. Eyes look red and swollen at times, and you may be in pain. Even if you don’t get the red and puffy-eyed look, you may have the feeling that something has entered your eye, causing irritation. It's likely that the irritation has more to do with eye allergy than anything else. Cold compresses give you quick fixes, in case you need to head outdoors, but for long-term relief, you will need a proper diagnosis and medical treatment. Most eye allergies aren’t dangerous, but a few and far between can be. Severe eye allergies can damage eyesight and it's important to get any eye allergy treated fast.

What is an Eye Allergy?

Among all the allergies, eye allergies affect people more often than not. Occurring when something irritates the eyes, eye allergies are a reaction to allergens. The eyes produce histamine to fight off the allergen, and this causes the allergy. The conjunctiva and eyelids turn red, and you have eye allergy. Pollen, smoke and dust are common allergens that cause eye allergies.

What are the Symptoms of an Eye Allergy?

Eye allergies are prone to happen alone or can occur with eczema and asthma. Furthermore, a person with eye allergy can manifest symptoms characteristic of eye allergy along with a runny nose, sneezing bouts and decongestion. Itchy eyes treatment can be undertaken with over-the-counter medication, but if symptoms persist, the allergy may be more serious than meets the eye. Here are the symptoms of eye allergy:

  • Eyes that water

  • Burning, red and itchy eyes

  • Pink and swollen eyes

  • Swollen/puffy eyelids, especially when you rise in the morning, or after sleep

A single eye or both eyes may be affected. Sometimes just one eye gets affected first, then symptoms tend to show up in the other eye.

What are the Causes of Eye Allergy?

It's important to make a distinction between pink eye and eye allergy. In pink eye, called conjunctivitis, the thin membrane enveloping the eyeball, the conjunctiva, is affected. It becomes inflamed due to irritation. This also makes eyes teary, itchy and red/pink. The cause for each is different, although the manifestations may be very similar. Eye allergy is caused by the following:

  • Allergens Indoors -

These include dust and dander, due to dust that floats in the air, or on an animal’s fur. If you have a pet that sheds hair and skin flakes, dust catches on to the flakes (dander) and causes allergies. Indoor allergens also constitute mold which grows in wet and humid spaces, like kitchens and bathrooms.

  • Allergens Outdoors -

Outdoor allergens are caused by dust outdoors and pollen.

  • Other Irritants -

These include substances other than allergens, such as perfume, diesel exhaust, paint and cigarette smoke.

Ways of Transmission

The immune system normally fights off any invaders like viruses and bacteria that attack the human body. In people with eye allergy, the immune system makes a mistake and views the allergen as an invader and fights against it by releasing chemicals like histamines. This chemical causes you to have itchy eyes if you come into contact with an allergen. The cause of an eye allergy can occur any time in the year, but it's most evident in the spring, summer and autumn months when trees, plants and grasses are in full bloom. In case of indoor allergens like dust and dander, dust mites present in dust are so minute to see that when dust flies in your eyes, you’re likely to get an allergy. Transmission also gets exacerbated when a sensitive person comes into contact with allergens and rubs their eyes, causing further irritation. Eye allergy is also caused as a symptom of a food allergy.

Diagnosis of Eye Allergy

Diagnosed best by an allergist, a doctor proficient in dealing with eye allergy treatment, they will take your medical history first. Allergists will ask you about your signs and symptoms, including detail about the time they started and about their progression. It's likely that the allergist will have you do a skin test to determine which allergen has affected you. You may have to do a blood test to confirm the diagnosis as well.

What is the Treatment for an Eye Allergy?

If you want relief from itchy eyes, treatment will usually mean that you should be out of the vicinity of the allergen that is responsible for your eye allergy. Nonetheless, this isn’t a ready solution, especially if you are afflicted by allergies which are of a seasonal nature. Fortunately, there are various treatments that can give you remedies for eye allergies. They constitute the following:

  • Drops for Eyes -

Prescription eye drops as well as over-the-counter drops may help relieve you of your allergy. Eye drops are made up of olopatadine hydrochloride. This effectively removes symptoms related to eye allergies. Eye drops that act as lubricants are also effective (they contain the substance in natural tears). Prescription eye drops have antihistamines which rid allergies fast.

  • Medication -

Oral medication and nasal sprays may help curb eye allergies. They contain antihistamines and decongestants for associated nasal symptoms. You also get medication which is steroid-based, and this is one of the most efficient ways to get rid of allergies.

  • Allergy Shots -

These may be recommended in case medication doesn’t alleviate symptoms. They are a form of immunotherapy in which injections have a mild dose of the allergen present to create a bodily immune response.

  • Home Remedies -

The eye allergy home remedy can do wonders for treating your eye allergy symptoms. You can dab your eyes with a cool, moist cloth from time to time. With this, the dryness gets eliminated and you get relief. Topical lotions made from red onion also help.

To Wind Up

Eye allergy can be a source of trouble and discomfort, but its treatment is varied, and you will always find a solution that works. However, in rare cases, you may need a specialist’s attention. This further highlights the need to ensure that you are prepared for the unexpected, for which health insurance could aid you. Seek out the Finserv MARKETS platform for more information about health insurance.

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