Springtime allergies are in full swing, which means your eyes may be affected by eye allergies. Not only can allergies cause you many issues with your sinuses, but they can affect your vision. Many patients experience red, itchy, or watery eyes, or they experience swollen eyelids. Spring eye allergies can be quite a nuisance without some preventative tips and help from an eye doctor. Find out why your eye allergies happen, what they do to your eyes and how to combat them effectively!
Many people notice changes in their health or vision once spring comes around. As the seasons change, flowers, weeds, tree leaves and other foliage starts to grow. That growth sends spores into the air with the wind alongside pollen and other allergens. Because of what’s in the air, people begin to have reactions to the spores coming in contact with the body through the nose, mouth and eyes. The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology reports that tree pollination begins in February, with grass pollination later in the spring. Added moisture through spring rain then causes molds and other allergens to grow.
If you’re feeling symptoms such as sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, a runny or stuffy nose, congestion, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, a dry cough and more, allergies are likely the issue. Eye allergies can be especially annoying, as they mess with your vision and may make you constantly blink or shed tears. You get these symptoms because of your immune system reacting to allergens in the air that aren’t usually there. To combat those spores and allergens, your immune system may produce many different types of symptoms to flush the allergen spores from your body. There are ways to deal with eye allergies without all the itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and other symptoms.
Did you know that there is an actual term for eye allergies? It’s called “allergic conjunctivitis”. Other types of conjunctivitis (like pink eye) are characterized by infections and worsening symptoms over time. The same can happen with allergies affecting your eyes, causing them to be a red or pink color, possibly with the same symptoms you’d get with an infection (burning, discharge, etc.) Many patients have a domino effect when it comes to their seasonal allergies. An allergen will affect a person’s face, which starts to cause watery eyes, which leads to a runny and stuffy nose. Then you are breathing through your mouth, causing dry mouth and other problems. That is why you want to get on top of eye allergies when they start. The most common allergies that affect the eyes include pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, smoke and ragweed, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
When you have abnormal eye symptoms that persist for more than 24-48 hours, make sure you call our office. You can never go wrong when you involve an eye care professional. We can advise you on at-home remedies for your eye allergies, if an allergen is the cause of your symptoms. Some great options for relieving eye allergy symptoms include:
Having discomfort with contacts during allergy season is very common. The material of your contacts is not generally something that causes the allergic reaction, but the substances that come in contact with your lenses or spores that get into your eyes and under the contacts with blinking. If you tend to have very irritated contacts in the spring and summer, you may want a different lens material that is more breathable and less susceptible to attracting lens deposits.
Daily disposable contact lenses are a great option for patients with eye allergies because you throw the contact lenses away each night, minimizing how many spores and deposits that build up with biweekly or monthly use contacts. If you are struggling with contacts, make a consultation with our office to change the type of contact material you have or the type of wear.
There are many causes of red or itchy eyes. Red eyes are commonly a sign of infection, but also simple causes such as a lack of sleep or eye allergies. If you continually have bothersome eye symptoms, don’t let those symptoms progress. Never rub or scratch your eyes or you can make the allergy response worse. Our patients often get through allergy season just fine when they schedule and eye exam and get the right eye drops to help them. To schedule your eye exam or for your questions about eye allergies, call Peeper’s Optical today at (303) 333-2800!