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How to Identify and Manage Eye Allergy Symptoms?

Jan 17, 2024

Eye treatment

How to Identify and Manage Eye Allergy Symptoms? How to Identify and Manage Eye Allergy Symptoms?

Eye allergy (allergic conjunctivitis) is when your eyes respond to an irritating substance or an allergen. They generate histamine to fight off the allergen, which could cause your conjunctiva and eyelids to swell, itch, burn, and turn red and watery. Nevertheless, like other conjunctivitis, eye allergies are not communicable. Though eye allergies are common, affecting 40% of the population, they can impact your quality of life and rarely affect your vision if left untreated for an extended period.

Let us discuss the causes, triggers, symptoms, and prevention of eye allergies so that you can quickly manage the condition effectively, maintaining healthy vision.

Understanding Eye Allergy Symptoms

Depending on the type of eye allergy you have, your symptoms will differ. Here are allergic conjunctivitis types and their specific symptoms:

Seasonal and Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) occurs only in the fall, summer, or spring and can be caused by plant pollens in the air. On the other hand, perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC) results from household allergens (pet dander, dust mites, etc.) and can affect anyone at any time during the year. Both share similar symptoms, but PAC signs are milder than SAC.

Their symptoms include:

  • Itching      
  • Chronic dark circles      
  • Redness   
  • Puffy eyelids  
  • Burning sensation 
  • Runny nose
  • Nasal congestion
  • Clear, watery discharge
  • Sneezing

Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis

Contact lens irritation or the proteins from tears binding to the lens surface can cause contact allergic conjunctivitis.

Its symptoms include:    

  • Mucus discharge     
  • Redness  
  • Lens discomfort  
  • Itching

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis

It is a serious eye allergy that mostly affects young men and boys. While vernal keratoconjunctivitis can affect year-round, its symptoms can aggravate in specific seasons. If not treated, it can affect your vision.

Its symptoms include:

  • The feeling of something (a foreign body) present in the eye 
  • Sensitivity to light (photophobia)    
  • Itching     
  • Tearing and thick mucus formation

Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis

This condition typically affects older men with a history of allergic dermatitis. Leaving it untreated can cause scars in the cornea and its membrane.

Its symptoms include:

  • Redness    
  • Severe itching     
  • Burning    
  • Production of thick mucus that may cause your eyelids to stick together after sleep

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

It is a severe form of contact allergic conjunctivitis, which can cause pimples or fluid sacs in the inner eyelid’s upper lining.

Its symptoms include:

  • Itching    
  • Foreign body sensation      
  • Tearing    
  • Puffiness    
  • Blurred vision   
  • Mucus discharge    
  • Difficulty wearing contact lenses

What Are the Causes and Triggers of Eye Allergies?

Common triggers of eye allergies include:

  • Indoor Allergens: Dust mites, mold, and pet dander
  • Irritants: Diesel exhaust, cigarette smoke, and perfume  
  • Outdoor Allergens: Weeds, grass, and trees

Besides, here are other factors that can cause eye allergies: 

  • Cosmetics      
  • Perseverative chemicals in prescribed or lubricating eye drops  
  • Drugs  
  • Other allergens that don’t directly affect the eye, such as insect bites or foods

How Is Eye Allergy Diagnosed?

Your eye doctor will examine your eye to check whether you have allergic conjunctivitis or infection. Upon suspecting an eye allergy, they will use a slit-lamp microscope to check for symptoms, such as redness, swollen blood vessels, etc.

If your diagnosis is unclear or your allergies worsen, they may order a specific test to look for a particular type of white blood cell in your eye. To check this, they will gently scrape the small portion of your conjunctiva and test this tissue for those white blood cells.

What Is the Most Effective Treatment for Eye Allergies?

Eye allergy treatment options vary depending on your symptoms and can include:

Over-the-Counter Medications and Eye Drops

These are used for short-term relief but may not resolve all symptoms. 

  • Artificial Tears: Keep your eyes hydrated and wash away allergens.
  • Oral Antihistamines: Resolve itching but may sometimes worsen symptoms.   
  • Decongestants: Reduce redness by narrowing the blood vessels, but glaucoma patients should not use this.

Prescription Medications and Eye Drops

These can effectively treat eye allergies, providing targeted relief for both short-term and long-term.  

Antihistamine and Mast Cell Stabilizer Eye Drops: Resolve eye allergy symptoms and prevent them.     

  • Non-sedating Oral Antihistamines: Treat itching in the eyes.   
  • Antihistamine Eye Drops: Provide prompt relief from eye allergy symptoms, but the effect lasts a few hours.     
  • Corticosteroid Eye Drops: Treat severe, long-term eye allergy symptoms.  
  • NSAID (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) Eye Drops: Relieve itching but may cause a burning or stinging sensation when applied.  
  • Mast Cell Stabilizer Eye Drops: Prevent the release of histamine responsible for eye allergy symptoms.

Allergy Shots

Containing small amounts of allergens, these shots provide immunity to resist the substances that cause allergic conjunctivitis. As it can take some months to produce the desired results, you may need to take medications to relieve your symptoms.

How to Prevent Eye Allergies?

You can prevent eye allergies by: 

  • Staying away from allergens whenever possible   
  • Using an air purifier   
  • Not rubbing your eyes      
  • Keeping your eyes clean      
  • Not wearing contact lenses until your symptoms clear up

Final Thoughts

Although eye allergies are common, taking quick action is crucial to maintaining optimal eye health. Treating the associated symptoms and discomfort can prevent potential complications while enhancing your quality of life. So, visit your eye specialist for appropriate treatment if you develop any signs of eye allergies.

Experience Quick Relief from Your Eye Allergies at Remagin

Are you struggling to battle redness, itching, and watery eyes caused by allergies? Stop by Remagin for customized, high-quality eye allergy treatment. Our ophthalmologist, Dr. Deepak Raja, has years of expertise and experience in treating eye allergies with desired results, ensuring immediate relief. Contact us today to get your eye allergies resolved effectively.

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