Do itching, burning, puffy or watery eyes plague you? You are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from allergies that affect the eyes. With spring comes the season for allergies, and many North Texans are already experiencing the effects of an increased amount of allergens in the air.
As plants begin to bloom, pollen from grass, weeds, trees and mold is released into the Texas air. It is these tiny particles that irritate the eyes by interacting with the conjunctiva—the tissue lining covering the white surface of the eye. The reaction causes a release of histamine, which may result in an itching or burning sensation, redness, watering, blurred vision and even swelling in the eyes.
Allergic conjunctivitis is the most common allergic eye condition and is typically associated with seasonal allergies or hay fever. Eye allergy symptoms can be caused by a number of allergen 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 these, contact your doctor for testing.
Are eye allergies making you miserable and affecting your daily activities? Follow these tips to help relieve symptoms:
- Apply a cold compress to puffy or swollen eyes for temporary relief.
- If you wear contact lenses, practice proper lens care and 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 irritated your eyes in the first place. Instead, get over-the-counter eye drops or prescription drops, if necessary, to alleviate the burning and itching.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Change your sheets and pillowcases regularly, as allergens will stick to bedding.
- Wear eyeglasses or sunglasses to block pollen from getting into your eyes.
- 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.
- If your eyes are irritated from allergies, avoid wearing eye makeup until the symptoms have cleared.
Some eye conditions not caused by allergies may be confused with allergies. These conditions include dry eyes, tear-duct obstruction and conjunctivitis due to infection. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of eye allergies, only your doctor will be able to tell you if your symptoms are in fact caused by an allergic reaction. Schedule an
eye exam today to ensure your symptoms are not caused by an infection or more serious problem.