Understanding Eye Allergies

close up image of a woman's faceAllergies can be more than a nuisance to allergy suffers. For some, allergies can be painful and cause serious eye irritation. Are your allergies causing dry, itchy, puffy or red eyes? You are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from allergies, including eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis.

Symptoms of eye allergies include redness in the whites of the eye or inner eyelid, itchy or burning eyes, tearing, blurred vision, swelling of the eyelid and sensitivity to light. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, they are likely caused by an allergic reaction, though only your doctor can tell you if your eye irritation is caused by allergies.

Eye allergy symptoms can be caused by a number of allergens or triggers, including: pollen from grass, trees or weeds; pet dander; dust; and mold. If you suspect you may suffer from an allergy to one or more of the above allergens, contact your doctor for allergy testing.

Are eye allergies making you miserable or affecting your daily activities? Your doctor may recommend these tips to help relieve symptoms:

  • Apply a cold compress to puffy or swollen eyes for temporary relief.
  • If you wear contact lenses, change your lenses regularly.
  • Do not share contact lenses or cases with others.
  • Do not rub or touch your eyes, even when they itch. Doing so may cause the release of more of the chemicals from allergens that caused eye irritation in the first place. Instead, try over-the-counter eye drops or prescription drops if necessary to help with burning and itching. Artificial tear drops may help wash out allergens that are irritating.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Change your sheets and pillowcases frequently, as allergens will stick to bedding.
  • Keep the windows in your home closed to reduce pollen and other allergens in your home.
  • When pollen counts are high, stay indoors.
  • Wash your hair regularly if you spend very much time outside (especially women)
  • If your eyes are irritated from allergies, avoid wearing eye makeup until the symptoms have cleared.

While there is little to be done to cure allergies, you can get out of your contact lenses with LASIK eye surgery. Vision correction surgery will help alleviate any discomfort you may feel from your contact lenses coupled with eye allergies. Would you like permanent relief from the additional irritation contacts have on your eyes during allergy season? Contact Key-Whitman for a free consultation to determine if you are a candidate for LASIK vision correction surgery. Ask us questions on our Key-Whitman Facebook Page.