An eye allergy, also referred to as allergic conjunctivitis, is an adverse immune reaction that occurs when an irritating material comes into contact with the eye.
This material is referred to as an allergen. Pollen, dust, or smoke may contain allergens.
The immune system typically protects the body against dangerous invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, to ward off diseases.
In people with allergies, however an allergen is mistaken for a toxic material by the immune system. This triggers the immune system, even though it would otherwise be harmless, to produce chemicals that fight against the allergen.
Numerous irritating symptoms, such as itchy, red, and watery eyes, lead to the reaction. Eye allergy can also be linked to eczema and asthma in certain individuals.
Over-the-counter (OTC) medicines may typically help alleviate the symptoms of eye allergies, but further care may be needed for people with serious allergies.
Allergens are usually regarded as harmless compounds that cause problems for people who are predisposed to allergic reactions. Pollen, mould, dust and pet dander are the most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergy.
Reactions to such products or eye drops, including artificial tears used to treat dry eyes that contain preservatives, can also be caused by eye allergies.
The eyes are normally not affected as badly by food allergies and allergic reactions to bee stings or other insect bites as airborne allergens do.
Eye discharge occurs if excess fluid in the eye is present. Eye discharge may be transparent and watery, like tears, or it may be thick and oily in the case of infections. Eye discharge has many causes, ranging from infections to allergic reactions. Itchy, watery eyes may be caused by allergic reactions. Pinkeye, or conjunctivitis, causes both allergies and infections. Infection-related eye discharge is commonly accompanied by other signs, including:
Eye infections may be associated with photophobia (sensitivity to light). The majority of causes of eye discharge are not extreme and can be treated easily.
How are they diagnosed with eye allergies?
Allergies to the eye are better diagnosed by an allergist, someone who specialises in allergy detection and treatment. When you have other allergy-related symptoms, such as asthma or eczema, seeing an allergist is especially necessary.
The allergist will first question you about your medical history and symptoms, including when they began and how long they’ve lasted.
To assess the root cause of your symptoms, they will then conduct a skin prick test. To see whether there is an adverse reaction, a skin prick test involves pricking the skin and injecting small quantities of suspected allergens.
An allergic reaction will suggest a red, swollen lump. This helps the allergist recognise the most susceptible allergens to which you are, helping them to assess the best course of treatment.
Avoiding the allergen that is causing it is the only way to handle an eye allergy. This isn’t always possible, though, especially if you have seasonal allergies.
Fortunately, several different remedies will ease eye allergy symptoms.
Certain oral and nasal medications, particularly when other allergy symptoms are present, can help relieve eye allergies. Such drugs include:
Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or loratadine (Claritin)
Pseudoephedrine (Sudafed) or oxymetazoline (Afrin) decongestants, for example,
Steroids, including Deltasone (prednisone)
Shots of Allergy
When symptoms may not improve with treatment, allergy shots may be prescribed. Allergy shots are a form of immunotherapy involving a sequence of allergen injections.
Over time the amount of allergens in the shot gradually increases. Allergy shots change the response of your body to an allergen, which tends to decrease the intensity of allergic reactions.
To treat eye allergies, several different prescription forms and OTC eye drops are available.
It is necessary to use some eye drops every day while others can be used to alleviate symptoms as needed.
At first, eye drops can cause burning or stinging. Any pain typically recovers within a couple of minutes. Side effects, such as discomfort, can be caused by certain eye drops.
Before choosing a brand on your own, it’s important to ask your doctor which OTC eye drops work best.
Several natural remedies have been used with varying degrees of effectiveness to treat eye allergies, including these herbal remedies:
Before you try them, make sure to contact your doctor about the safety and efficacy of these treatments.
For individuals with eye allergies, a cold, moist washcloth can also provide relief.
Several times a day you should try putting the washcloth over closed eyes. This can help relieve irritation as well as dryness. It’s important to remember, though, that this procedure does not address the underlying cause of the allergic reaction directly.
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