Winter, summer or monsoon, allergy season can strike anytime. Allergies can affect you in different ways causing symptoms such as sneezing, sniffling, nasal congestion, skin rashes, throat infections and eye problems. Here, we’ll focus on eye allergies; how do they occur and what are the warning signs? When the membrane that covers your eyes, is irritated by something in your indoor or outdoor environment, you may experience itchy, teary or painful eyes, causing an allergic reaction.
We completely understand that eye allergies can be very annoying, but do they pose a serious risk to your health? Not entirely. The worse symptom you’ll probably experience would be blurry vision which can be prevented if you take the necessary precautions. We offer some tips about what to do and what to avoid to cope with eye allergies, but first let’s understand the causes and the symptoms associated with it.
What Causes Eye Allergies?
“Allergic Conjunctivitis” or eye allergies, are triggered when the body’s immune system that provides natural resistance to infection and toxins releases histamine, a chemical that causes the blood vessels to swell and the eyes to become red, watery, and itchy.
Now, what are allergens? Harmless substances that cause problems in individuals susceptible to allergic reactions. The most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergies are tree, flower pollen in spring, grass pollen in summer, weed pollen in winter and indoor allergens like mold, dust and pet dander. Eye allergies can also be caused by reactions to certain cosmetics, creams or eye drops, including artificial tears containing preservatives that are used for treating dry eyes.
Symptoms Of Eye Allergies
- Red, irritated eyes
- Watery eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Soreness, burning, or pain
- Sensitivity to light
What Can You Do
1. Visit your eye doctor. When you experience an allergic reaction, it is important to learn how to alleviate your sensitivity to allergens. Your eye doctor can help you with this.
3. Use artificial tears to soothe irritated eyes. Wash airborne allergens from your eyes with the best quality artificial tears suggested by your eye doctor.
4. Bathe shortly before bedtime and gently clean your eyelids. This will remove any pollen, if present, that could cause irritation while sleeping.
5. Clean bathrooms and kitchens often. These are high-humidity areas that must be kept clean if mold is an allergy trigger for you.
6. Keep indoor allergens at bay. Invest in a humidifier and air purifier for your home and make sure the humidity is under 50 percent to avoid mold growth. Also, consider purchasing an allergen-trapping filter for your heating/cooling system.
7. Wash bedding frequently. Make sure to use allergen-proof covers for your bedding to limit exposure to dust mites.
8. Wash your hands after contact with pets. Rugs and carpers hold allergens, hence, make sure to replace them with hardwood, tile, marble or other flooring materials that are easy to clean. For cleaning the floor, use a wet mop or dust cloth as dry cleaning cloth can spread more allergens into the air.
9. Wash eyes with a sterile saline solution. It’s the best choice to calm down your eye irritation.
10. Switch to daily disposable lenses. With these you can reduce the build-up of allergens on your contact lenses. Try Aqualens 24 H Monthly Disposable, one of the healthiest contact lenses which allow 4 times more oxygen for all-day comfort. With 56% water content, these lenses offer all day wearability. These lenses will keep your eyes comfortable all day long, from morning till evening.
What Not To Do
1. Avoid or limit your exposure to allergens. In the spring and summer, pollen from trees and grasses; in late summer and fall, watch out for ragweed pollen; and indoor allergens during winter like mold, dust mites and pet dander are common.
2. Don’t rub your eyes if they itch! Hard to control, we understand, but rubbing the eyes releases more histamine and could make your allergy symptoms worse.
3. Reduce your contact lens wear. Switch to daily disposable lenses to reduce the build-up of allergens on your lenses.
4. Do not open windows when driving and at home. When driving or at home, keep the windows closed and run the air conditioner, especially during high pollen period.
5. Do not use window fans. This will prevent pollen from entering your home.
6. Do not go outside during the mid-morning and early evening. Pollen count is at its highest during these times of the day.
If your eye allergy symptoms are unbearable and over-the-counter medicines or eye drops do not provide relief, visit your eye doctor immediately and ask him/her to recommend another effective solution or suggest an alternate medicine depending on the severity of your allergy.