Eye allergies often occur in a particular season. It can happen and affect the health of a sensitive person. A person suffering from seasonal allergies can also show symptoms in the eyes.
There is a sharp increase in the occurrence of eye allergies all over the world. The prime reason for an elevation in the cases is pollution. Suspended particles in the urban atmosphere due to massive industrialization and deforestation affect the ocular health of people living in developing nations.
What are the causes of eye allergies?
Harmless substances affecting the ocular health of a hypersensitive person are called allergens. The most frequent allergens we know causes, different types of eye allergies are pollen, mold, pet dander, and dust.
In some cases, a person using a particular cosmetic product can also show irritations in the eyes due to allergic reactions. It can also occur when a sensitive person is exposed to artificial tears containing a particular strain of preservatives.
What are the symptoms of eye allergies?
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis
The most common allergic symptoms are itching, redness, watery discharge, and burning. Different kinds of eye allergies need to be identified. Seasonal allergies during summer fall and spring can cause such symptoms. Apart from this, dark circles and puffy eyes will tell that a person is suffering from this type of eye allergies.
Vernal kerato-conjunctivitis is more serious than seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Apart from the symptoms mentioned above, the patient will suffer from significant production of tears and mucus. It happens all year round, specifically among adolescent and adult males. It has also been found that 3 out of 4 patients suffer from asthma or eczema. They also feel extremely averted to light. It needs quick medical attention as it can cause vision impairment.
This allergic condition affects senior patients, especially men, who have suffered from allergic dermatitis previously. It is not as serious as the previous one, but the symptoms are similar. Eyelids tend to stick together due to excess mucus production.
Contact allergic conjunctivitis
Contact eye allergies can happen due to contact lenses and protein accumulating from tears on the contact lens. The symptoms are redness, mucous discharge, itching, and lens discomfort.
Giant papillary conjunctivitis
It is similar to contact conjunctivitis but has severe effects. Giant papillary conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction triggered in the fluid sacs of eyes or papules. The symptoms are puffiness, itching, tearing, blurred vision, mucous discharge, contact lens intolerance, foreign body sensitivity, etc.
How can the diagnosis of eye allergies be made?
Doctors and ophthalmologists can easily diagnose eye allergies. Using a slit-lamp microscope, the physician will check for the particular signs and symptoms. Swollen blood vessels on the eye surface and redness will tell what is wrong with your eyes.
If the allergic reactions are found to be severe, the physician will perform a particular test to confirm the presence of a particular white blood cell type. To do this, he will gently scrape the eye surface or conjunctiva to collect test samples.
How can you treat eye allergies?
Avoidance of allergens
Going outdoors will need certain precautions to maintain. For instance, wearing eyeglasses or sunglasses during pollen seasons is very necessary. Avoid mid-morning walks and early evening strolls without covering your eyes as pollens and dust particles concentration are higher during this time of the day.
Keep your air conditioning unit clean and stay indoors as much as possible. It will help to maintain a cleaner indoor environment for your safety. In fact, maintaining a low humidity (30-50%) will reduce the formation of molds. Clean areas inside your home that have a higher humidity such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basement. Keep away from pets if you are allergic to animal dander.
Consult a physician, specifically an allergist, depending on the severity and repetition of symptoms. Follow the medication regime a doctor suggests. Following are the possible medications an allergist will prescribe you.
Artificial tears will help you flush out allergens sticking to the upper surface of your eyes or conjunctiva. It will also help you to alleviate symptoms such as dryness and itching by providing moisture. These drops can be used without any prescription. You can apply artificial tears 6 times every day.
Decongestants are also available in the form of eye drops. Due to excessive mucus formation, your eyelids get stuck when you wake up in the morning. Decongestant eye drops will reduce mucus formation and redness. These decongestant formulas have antihistaminic properties. These drops should be used for less than three days. Follow the instructions a physician has cited. This antihistaminic drop is also called a mast cell stabilizer.
3. Oral antihistamines
Oral antihistamines can be consumed to reduce the symptoms of eye allergies. In this case, you will have to consume them for a limited period until the histamine level in your blood is stabilized.
Doctors prescribe corticosteroids for severe and chronic eye allergies. The symptoms such as itching, swelling, redness, and mucus formation will reduce in due course of time. These medications should not be taken without consulting a physician as they might have side effects.
5. Immunotherapy shots
The symptoms of eye allergies often alleviate using the medications mentioned below. If these symptoms continue and the severity is increasing, it is necessary for a hypersensitive person to get immunotherapy shots. The tiny shots contain a low dose of allergens. It can be very helpful to tackle allergic reactions. Eventually, the dose level increases, providing you more strength to ward off allergic reactions and make life easier.
Learning more about eye allergies will help individuals to stay cautious and take proper measures to get rid of any reaction. If it happens frequently, it is necessary to seek medical attention and use prescribed medication as directed by the physician.