Whether you are out in the cold winter air or cleaning your home, allergens spring up throughout the year. They trigger allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing and swollen eyes. Allergies could cause the eyes to swell and become watery, itchy, red, itchy and extremely uncomfortable. Are you experiencing these symptoms? Read below!
Eye allergies, which are also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are adverse immune responses that occur when the eye comes into contact with irritating allergens. Different allergens may include smoke, pollen or dust.
The immune system usually defends the body against harmful invaders, such as bacteria and viruses to ward off illnesses. When it comes to people with eye allergies, the immune system sometimes mistakes an allergen for a dangerous substance. This can cause the immune system to make chemicals that fight against the allergen, although it is harmless. This reaction can lead to a number of irritating symptoms, such as red, itchy and watery eyes. Eye allergies may also be related to asthma and eczema in some individuals.
Over-the-counter medicine can most likely relieve eye allergy symptoms, but individuals with intense allergies might require additional treatment.
What are the symptoms of eye allergies?
Symptoms of eye allergies may include the following:
- watery eyes
- itchy or burning eyes
- scaling around the eyes
- red or pink eyes
- swollen or puffy eyelids in the early hours
One or both eyes might be affected. These symptoms might be accompanied by congestion, a runny nose or sneezing.
Pink eye vs. eye allergies
The eyeball is covered with a thin membrane called the conjunctiva. When the conjunctiva gets inflamed or irritated, this could result in conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is known as pink eye. This causes the eyes to become red, itchy, and watery.
Even though pink eye and eye allergies can have similar symptoms, they are two very different conditions. Eye allergies are oftentimes caused by an adverse immune reaction to certain substances. But pink eye is caused by eye allergies as well as other factors which include bacterial infections, contact lenses, viruses or chemicals.
Pink eye that is triggered by a virus or bacterial infection usually causes a thick discharge to develop on the eye at night. This condition is also highly contagious.
What is the cause of eye allergies?
Eye allergies are caused by an adverse immune reaction to certain allergens in the air.
Usually the immune system promotes chemical changes in the body that help fight off harmful invaders, such as viruses and bacteria. But the immune system mistakenly identifies a harmless allergen as a dangerous intruder and begins to fight against it in people with eye allergies.
Eye allergies are especially common during the winter, fall, and spring months when plants are in bloom. These reactions can also happen when a sensitive person comes into contact with an allergen and rubs their eyes afterward. Food allergies can also cause eye allergy symptoms.
How are these eye allergies diagnosed?
Eye allergies are best diagnosed by an eye doctor or allergist. You will first be asked about your symptoms and medical history. This information includes when the allergies started and the longevity. A skin prick test will be performed to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. In this test, the skin is pricked and small amounts of suspected allergens are inserted to find out if there is an adverse reaction. A swollen, red bump will indicate an allergic reaction. This assists in identifying which allergens you are most sensitive to and allows them to determine the best course of treatment.
Are you experiencing eye allergies or pink eye? Click here to see ophthalmology and adult strabismus expert Dr. Sami for an exam!