Eyes and Allergies

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EyeQue Team

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February 15, 2021

Eye allergies

What Are Eye Allergies?

Man with eye allergiesAllergic conjunctivitis is the technical term for eye allergies. Roughly 20% of the population suffers from this issue at some point in the year. For some people, it may simply be a one-time contact allergic reaction (for example, a new mascara might not be agreeable to the eyes), and for others, it may be a yearly seasonal affliction. 

The Symptoms of Eye Allergies 

When your eyes are exposed to environmental allergens, the conjunctiva reacts by releasing histamine. This process can lead to several symptoms including: 

  • Redness and irritation 
  • Burning or itching 
  • Excessive tearing 
  • Blurry vision 
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Eyelid swelling 

Unfortunately, most of these symptoms could also be an indication of a viral or bacterial infection as well. So, it is always a good idea to have an eye doctor take a look to determine the cause of the issue.  

Treatment for Eye Allergies 

If possible, you will want to remove whatever is causing the allergic reaction. For example, if a certain lotion is causing an allergic reaction, you should stop using it. However, if the allergies are seasonal and related to something like pollen, it will be nearly impossible to eliminate the cause. 

Fortunately, there are other treatments that can offer relief to the eyes. Things like artificial tears and cool compresses can alleviate many of the irritations. Plus, there are medicated eye drops, both prescription and over the counter, that are meant for treating allergies. 

If the allergies are very severe, there are additional treatments your ophthalmologist might try such as steroid eye drops or immunotherapy shots. Remember: never use steroid drops if not directed by your doctor. 

Common Eye Irritants 

If you find that you are struggling with allergic conjunctivitis, you may want to look to the following list for a possible cause: 

  • Mold 
  • Pet dander 
  • Dust 
  • Cigarette smoke 
  • Perfume/cologne 
  • Contact lenses  
  • Contact lens solutions 
  • Preservatives in artificial tears 
  • Cosmetics 
  • Lotions 
  • Air fresheners 
  • Household cleaning products 

As always, you should discuss any concerns you have about your eye health with your doctor during your regular exams. When you’re between exams, you can use the VisionCheck from EyeQue to test your vision from home. You can even share the results with your doctor! 

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