Eye allergy symptoms are one of the top three allergy complaints in the country. In fact, the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology states that 40 percent of adults suffer from eye allergies, many of whom remain undiagnosed. Self-diagnosis and treatment with over-the-counter remedies are often not enough to alleviate eye allergy symptoms long-term. Here’s what we recommend if you’re seeking relief from eye allergies.
Diagnose the Problem
The first step is to pinpoint the cause of your allergies. Only then can you avoid your triggers and help prevent symptoms from occurring. The most common types of eye allergies include:
- Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC): This is by far the most likely reason for your eye allergies. Exposure to pollen causes itchy, red, burning, watery eyes to occur in the spring, summer or fall.
- Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC): The symptoms are the same as seasonal allergies, but they occur year-round in response to dust mites, mold, pet dander and other household allergens.
- Keratoconjunctivitis: Vernal and atopic keratoconjunctivitis are more serious eye allergies that may cause thick mucus production. If left untreated, these conditions can cause scarring and vision impairment.
- Contact allergic conjunctivitis: Wearing contact lenses may cause an allergic reaction if you have this condition or its more severe form, giant papillary conjunctivitis.
Avoid Eye Allergy Triggers
People with dry eye syndrome can sometimes be misdiagnosed with eye allergies. However, some allergy treatments can make dry eyes worse, so if you struggle with itchy, gritty, watery eyes, it’s important to visit an allergist for a thorough evaluation. With a diagnosis from your allergist, you can feel confident about what triggers to stay away from.
- Avoid outdoor allergens :
- Remain indoors when pollen counts are high.
- Keep the windows in your house and car closed.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
- Avoid indoor allergens:
- Use an airtight mattress cover and hypoallergenic pillowcases to reduce dust mite exposure.
- Run a dehumidifier, clean shower tiles regularly, and use exhaust fans when showering and cooking to reduce mold growth.
- Replace wall-to-wall carpet with hard flooring to reduce dust in your home.
- Avoid pet allergens:
- Consider banning pets from your home.
- Keep pets out of your bedroom.
- Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals.
Treat Eye Allergies
When avoidance techniques aren’t enough, relieve your eye allergies with these treatment options:
- Over-the-counter medication: For short-term relief, try tear substitutes, decongestants or oral antihistamines.
- Prescription medication: When OTC treatments aren’t potent enough, seek a prescription for stronger eye drops or oral antihistamines.
- Immunotherapy: Allergy & Asthma Specialists offers three kinds of immunotherapy. Allergy shots, drops or tablets help your body build a tolerance to the allergens that trigger your symptoms. After a few months of treatment, your quality of life may improve significantly.
To learn more about finding relief from eye allergies, please contact Allergy & Asthma Specialists SM . We have eight convenient locations, in Philadelphia, Collegeville, Doylestown, Lansdale, Pottstown, Blue Bell, King of Prussia and Jenkintown, where you can schedule an appointment.