The same allergies that cause sneezing and a runny nose often affect your eyes as well. Dry, red, itchy eyes are common during specific allergy seasons and can be a result of environmental factors.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that around 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies. This number continues to increase, with 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children experiencing symptoms.
What Causes Allergies?
Allergic eye irritations are usually caused by airborne particles such as dust, pollen, mold or pet dander. These allergens can be more severe during certain times of the year, for instance at the beginning of spring when plants begin to pollinate. An individual’s environment can also cause allergies; things like ust or pets can cause allergies to increase, especially in smaller spaces like apartments or bedrooms. Allergic symptoms are are your body’s defense mechanism for fighting off these allergens.
Allergies Signs & Symptoms
Common signs of allergies that can also affect a person’s eyes are associated with the typical symptoms of sneezing, congestion and a runny nose that most sufferers experience. Specifically as it relates to the eye, most of these allergy sufferers also go through bouts of itchy, watery, or red eyes and swollen eyelids.
Limiting your exposure to known allergens will always be the best way to prevent allergies from affecting your daily life. This could be as simple as limiting your outdoor exposure when you know the pollen count for your area is high. Or routinely cleaning your home if you have a cat or dog and show signs like coughing or sneezing when your pets come into contact with you.
If you are wearing contact lenses and experience an allergic episode, remove and clean them. The surface of contact lenses can accumulate airborne allergens. You can also consider wearing glasses during allergy season tolimit the amount of time you spend wearing your contacts.
Over-the counter medications like eye drops are common and come in different formulas to address specific symptoms. For more severe allergy sufferers, prescription medication is available and t worth considering. Allergies be confused with other eye conditions like dry eye or conjunctivitis(pink eye). If you’re concerned about your eye health, book an appointment with our eye care professionals at Schaeffer Eye center to discuss options and treatments.