With Spring right around the corner, new flowers are beginning to pop up around town. But unfortunately what else is popping up is allergy season and eye allergies which affect millions of people annually.
An allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts to a substance that is normally harmless such as pollen, dust, pet dander, mold or smoke. When one of these allergens comes in contact with your eye, cells within your eye release histamines to fight off the intruder. Histamines are part of your body's defense system. They start the process to remove those allergens out of your body by sneezing, tearing up, or itching -- whatever it takes to get the job done.
When histamines are released to fight off allergens, this is when you may experience common symptoms, such as:
- Red, irritated eyes.
- Tearing or runny eyes.
- Swollen eyelids.
- Sensitivity to light.
Most allergic eye conditions are more irritating than dangerous and thankfully there are a variety of treatment options available.
Ways to treat eye allergies:
- Stay indoors on days with high pollen counts. Make sure to frequently wash your hands and keep them away from your eyes.
- Wearing glasses or sunglasses when outdoors can help keep pollen out of your eyes.
- Because the surface of contact lenses accumulate allergens, consider wearing glasses or daily disposable contacts to avoid the buildup of allergens in the eye.
- Artificial tear drops, available over-the-counter, can help wash the allergens out of the eye and reduce irritation.
- Eye drops containing decongestants and antihistamines can be prescribed by a VisionFirst optometrist to help combat allergic reactions.
If you suffer from eye allergies, we are always here to help. Schedule an appointment with one of our VisionFirst doctors to discuss one-on-one your personal symptoms.