An eye allergy or allergic conjunctivitis is considered as an immune response on the surface of the eye. In an allergic reaction, histamines are released in the area of contact which results to red, itchy or watery eyes. An eye allergy can occur any time of the year but quite common during the spring, summer and fall season. Most cases of eye allergies are triggered by allergens present in the air such as dander, pollen and smoke. Once in contact, the individual will rub his/her eyes with his/her hands.
- Pollen from grasses, trees and weeds are the most common allergens that can trigger an eye allergy.
- Makeup, perfume and other chemicals
- Pet dander, dust and other indoor allergens can occur all year round
- Allergy to contact lenses will make the eyes sensitive and red in color
What are the symptoms of eye allergies?
During an allergy, the symptoms will start to manifest as soon as the eyes come in contact with a particular allergen or will occur 2-4 days after the exposure. These symptoms are likely to manifest during an eye allergy:
- Red, irritated eyes
- Teary or runny eyes
- Eyelids that are swollen
- Sensitivity to light
- Soreness or burning sensation
In most cases, these symptoms are also accompanied with other allergy symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose.
Treatment for eye allergies
The ideal treatment for an eye allergy is to avoid the allergen that triggers a reaction. If the individual has not yet determined the exact cause of his/her allergy, an appointment with a doctor must be done to figure out the cause early. In some cases in which the symptoms can get serious, it would require the individual to take an antihistamine especially if other symptoms are present. As for severe cases, an allergy shot might be required.
Best eye drops for allergies
The eye drops that are usually prescribed by doctors for eye allergies typically contain olopatadine hydrochloride. Based on studies, this has been proven as a strong yet safe medication that provides effective relief if compared to other eye drops.
There are also some homeopathic remedies used in treating eye allergies. It is best to consult a doctor first before using any natural remedies. In some cases, a cool and moist washcloth can provide relief for an eye allergy. You can perform this first aid measure by placing the washcloth over his/her closed eyes several times in a day.
You can also provide lubricating eye drops such as “artificial tears” to wash out the allergens present in the eye. Take note that some of these eye drops must be used on a daily basis while others can be used as needed to provide relief to the symptoms. Some eye drops can cause a stinging or burning sensation at first, but it usually diminishes within a few minutes.