Eye allergies occur when the body overreacts to an otherwise harmless substance. Symptoms of an allergic reaction in the eyes occur when histamine and other materials are released by mast cells. These cause irritation of nerve endings, blood vessel dilation, and increased production of tears in the eyes.
How Do I Know if I Have Eye Allergies?
Symptoms that occur with most types of ocular allergies include:
- Bloodshot eyes
- Itchy and scratchy eyes
- Burning sensation
- Clear discharge
What Are the Different Kinds of Eye Allergies?
Common types of eye allergies are:
- Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC): Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis occurs during summer, fall, or spring. SAC is usually a result of different kinds of pollen in the air during each of these seasons. Distinctive symptoms are dark circles beneath the eyes and puffy eyelids. A running nose and nasal congestion also go with these symptoms.
- Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC): The symptoms of PAC are like SAC. Unlike SAC, PAC can occur at any time of the year. Dust mites and other household allergens cause PAC.
- Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis: Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis occurs in small boys and young men. About three-quarters of patients are asthmatic or have eczema. It happens year-round and is characterized by the secretion of thick mucus.
- Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis: Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis is like vernal keratoconjunctivitis; however, it occurs in men between 40-50 years old.
- Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis (GPC): GPC results from trauma often caused by postoperative sutures, contact lens edges, or ocular prosthesis. In GPC, large bumps appear on the underside of the eyelid.
What Causes Eye Allergies?
If a substance causes an allergy, it’s called an allergen. Types of allergens include:
- Irritants: Different individuals may have different irritating allergens. Irritants include perfumes, cigarette smoke, or exhaust fumes.
- Indoor Allergens: Mold, pet dander, and dust mites are indoor allergens found in the home.
- Outdoor Allergens: Pollen from flowers, plants, and grass are the most common outdoor allergens.
How Are Eye Allergies Treated?
The doctors at Optometrists of Lansing will carry out a comprehensive diagnosis to identify any potential triggers and prescribe the necessary treatment. Eye allergies can be treated using different types of eye drops and medications including:
- Mast Cell Stabilizer Eye Drops: These work by preventing the production of histamine. Before exposure to allergens, use an eye drop that stabilizes mast cell.
- NSAID Eye Drops: These eye drops are used to stop itching and are intended to be used multiple times a day. After use, one may experience a burning sensation.
- Antihistamine Eye Drops: These drops decrease the intensity of symptoms, such as swelling.
- Allergy Shots: Allergy shots are for people who are susceptible to specific allergens. These shots help build their tolerance against those allergens.
- Non-Sedating Oral Antihistamines: Non-sedating oral antihistamines reduce itching.
How Can I Prevent Allergies?
Avoiding triggering allergens is the best way to manage allergies. For pollen triggers, keep the windows closed and avoid going outside when it is windy. Use mite-proof covers on mattresses, pillows, and other bedding to protect household allergens. Avoid contact with pets if they are the cause of your allergy. In case of contact, wash your hands and change your clothes.
How Can Optometrists of Lansing Care for My Eye Allergies?
The doctors at Optometrists of Lansing are highly qualified to treat eye allergies and will carry out a comprehensive diagnosis to identify any potential triggers. Based on this diagnosis, they will be able to prescribe the necessary medication. Optometrists of Lansing has been providing eye care to the Lansing area for more than five decades and have the necessary experience to treat your eye allergy symptoms.