Allergies can be a frustrating condition. Worse, they cause severe reactions that can be life-threatening. One type of allergy that can be bothersome is eye allergy. Eye allergies, also called allergic conjunctivitis, affects millions of people worldwide. The condition can cause discomfort and affect the quality of your life.
Eye allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a substance that it perceives as harmful. When the immune system identifies a substance as an allergen, it produces immunoglobulin E (IgE).
IgE is an antibody that triggers the release of chemicals like histamine, which irritates and inflames the eyes. The common allergens that can trigger eye allergies include mold, pet dander, dust mites, and pollen.
Eye allergy symptoms can vary depending on severity. The most common are redness and watery eyes. These can be mild or severe and last for days or weeks. People with eye allergies may also experience eyelid swelling and a burning sensation. Some individuals experience congestion and a runny nose. In severe cases, eye allergies can affect vision and lead to light sensitivity or blurred vision.
Anybody can develop an eye allergy. However, you have a higher chance of developing it if you have a family history of asthma or allergies. Additionally, exposure to allergens regularly increases your risk, such as living with pets or working in a dusty environment. Older adults are less likely to develop it than younger ones and children.
See a doctor for a diagnosis if you suspect you have eye allergies. They will perform an eye exam and ask about your symptoms and medical history. They may also perform allergy testing to determine the specific allergen causing your symptoms. Allergy testing involves a skin test. It entails placing a small amount of the allergen on your skin to see if a reaction occurs. They can also test your blood for IgE antibodies.
The severity of your symptoms and the underlying cause determines the allergy treatment used. Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or precision eye drops to reduce inflammation and relieve itching.
Your doctor may control your allergic reaction by recommending antihistamines. They may prescribe oral medications or recommend immunotherapy if your symptoms are severe. It involves regular injections of the allergen. It helps build up your immune system’s tolerance to it.
Avoiding exposure to allergens can help you prevent eye allergies. For example, avoid spending time outdoors during peak allergy season if you are allergic to pollen. Keep your home clean and free of dust mites and pet dander. Wearing sunglasses can help protect your eyes from allergens. It is also vital to keep your hands and face to avoid transferring allergens to your eyes.
See your eye doctor if you are experiencing persistent and severe eye allergy symptoms. Additionally, seek immediate medical attention if you experience sudden vision changes or severe eye pain. Your doctor can recommend an appropriate treatment plan after determining the underlying cause of your symptoms.
For more about eye allergies, visit Studio Optix at our office in New York, New York. Call (212) 765-4444 to book an appointment today.