Around 50 million people in the United States have seasonal allergies. The condition is characterized by sneezing and congestion. Patients may also experience eye discomfort including itching, watering, redness and swollen eyelids.
In this post, your local eye care specialists from Vision Care Plus discuss the causes of eye allergies and how to determine if symptoms are an indication of eye irritation.
Causes of Eye Allergies
Airborne substances like pollen, mold, dust and pet dander can cause allergic reactions to individuals. Cosmetics and certain eye drops can also trigger allergies.
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) is the most common type of eye allergy. Depending on the type of airborne pollen, patients may experience symptoms in the spring, summer or fall. Usual symptoms include itching, burning and clear, watery eye discharge.
Another type of eye allergy is perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC), which occurs throughout the year. It causes the same symptoms as SAC, but they tend to be milder. The reactions are triggered by dust mites, mold, pet dander and household allergens.
Allergies are usually accompanied by sneezing and runny nose. Visit your doctor for an eye examination to make sure your symptoms don’t indicate another type of irritation.
Allergy Treatment and Management
Spend less time outdoors when pollen counts are high, usually in midmorning and early evening. Avoid window fans as they can bring pollens and mold indoors. Wear sunglasses when heading outdoors to minimize the amount of pollen entering your eyes. Don’t rub your eyes even if they’re itchy because this can make the symptoms worse.
On the home front, keep your windows closed and use air conditioning. Make sure that your units are clean. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas of your home like the basement to prevent mold. Get rid of mold by cleaning it with a detergent and a 5% bleach solution.
Over-the-counter eye drops may also provide some relief from allergies. You may need prescription medication like antihistamines or decongestants if eye drops don’t work.
Visit your eye doctor if you think you may have eye allergies. At Vision Care Plus, we are your local provider of eye care services. Call us at (844) 201-5900 or complete our online form. We help patients in Drayton Valley and Camrose, AB.