We are on the cusp of Spring, and the change in season promises fairer weather and new beginnings. Unfortunately, Spring’s new growth can also create seasonal allergies that leave you with congestion, headaches, and itchy, swollen eyes.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, eye allergies, also called allergic conjunctivitis, are pretty standard. They occur when the eyes react to something that irritates them (called an allergen). The eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen. As a result, the eyelids and conjunctiva become red, swollen, and itchy. The eyes can tear and burn. Unlike other kinds of conjunctivitis, eye allergies do not spread from person to person.
Patients with Spring eye allergies commonly have nasal allergies, an itchy, stuffy nose, and sneezing. It is usually a temporary condition associated with seasonal allergies.
You can also get eye allergies from pet dander, dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes, or even foods. If you cannot avoid the cause, your allergies can be more severe. You can have significant burning and itching and even sensitivity to light.
What Are the Symptoms of Eye Allergies?
The most common eye allergy symptoms include:
- red, swollen, or itchy eyes
- burning or tearing of the eyes
- sensitivity to light
What Causes Eye Allergies?
An allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts to an ordinarily harmless allergen. When an allergen comes in contact with your eye, specific cells within your eye (called mast cells) release histamine and other substances to fight off the allergen. This reaction causes your eyes to become red, itchy, and watery.
What Are Eye Allergy Triggers?
- Outdoor allergens, such as pollen from grass, trees, and ragweed
- Indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold
- Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, perfume
Spring Eye Allergy Management
Avoid triggers by making changes to your home and your routine.
- Keep windows closed during high pollen periods; use air conditioning in your home and car.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to keep pollen out of your eyes.
- Wash your hands and face frequently.
If you experience Spring eye allergies, make an appointment today. Please consult your eye doctor before using any over-the-counter eye drops because a prescription oral antihistamine, eye drops, or injections may be more effective in managing your symptoms. If your allergies cause vision changes, feelings of a foreign object in your eye, or acute pain, make an emergency appointment as soon as possible.
We can help you conquer Spring Eye Allergies to ensure a Happy Spring Season!
References: American Academy of Ophthalmology and American Optometric Association. This blog provides information and discussion about eye health and related subjects. The content provided in this blog and any linked materials are not intended and should not be considered medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, they should consult with an appropriately licensed physician.