Summer is upon us, and the air is filled with pollen and other allergens. In the coming months, you might find that your eyes are a little itchier than usual.
Eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, occur when your immune system mistakenly believes that a harmless substance (e.g., pollen) is actually harmful. Although most people associate allergies with a stuffy nose, itchy eyes are another common symptom.
People who have eye allergies often experience:
- Redness in the eye and/or the eyelids
- Tearful, runny eyes
- Soreness or burning
- Light sensitivity
Causes of eye allergies include:
- Animal dander
- Contact lenses
Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to determine what is causing your eye allergies. Even worse, multiple eye diseases resemble eye allergies. For instance, dry eye syndrome also results in burning, itchy eyes and light sensitivity. Blepharitis is another condition that also resembles an allergic reaction. Although both of these disorders can be treated, they require different treatment than eye allergies, making it important to speak with your eye doctor if you develop any of their symptoms.
If you know that you’re dealing with eye allergies, there are a few things you can do to manage their intensity.
- You can use over-the-counter eye drops. Artificial tears will lubricate your eyes, potentially removing the irritants, whereas decongestant eye drops will soothe the allergic reaction.
- You can consume oral antihistamines, which should ease the allergic reaction not only in your eyes, but also anywhere else.
- You can wet a clean washcloth with cold water and hold it over your eyes. This should alleviate some of the itchiness.
- Try your best to avoid allergens. If you’re allergic to pollen, avoid the outdoors on high pollen days. If you’re allergic to animals, wash your hands frequently if you pet them.
- If your allergies are particularly severe, allergy shots or prescription eye drops may be the best option.
- Do not rub your eyes. Rubbing your eyes will likely make your symptoms worse.
If you’re struggling with severe eye allergies, contact Larson Eye Care for a comprehensive eye and vision examination so that we can help you determine the best course of action. We can also help rule out eye diseases that resemble allergies. For more information, contact Larson Eye Care today.