Eye allergies are a very common issue for many men and women. Millions of people deal with seasonal allergies. Eye allergies can cause sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose, and swollen eyelids, and other issues. If you’re one of the millions of suffers from allergies, you probably have a few questions about your condition—specifically, what causes allergies, and what can be done about them?
Eye allergies are normally triggered by allergic reactions, which occur when the body comes into a typically-innocuous substance that the immune system interprets as a threat. Pollen and dust are two common allergens that can irritate eyes. Eye allergies may also be caused by different types of eye drops. Food allergies, while common, normally do not damage the eyes as much as other types of allergies.
Try to avoid allergens at all costs. During those humid, summer days when the pollen count is high, do not spend a lot of time outdoors. Rely on your air conditioning and use furnace filters that can stop common allergens. In the event that you do have to head outside, wear shades or put on a hat to shield your eyes from allergens. Make sure that your windows are up when you are driving.
Prescription medications are an option if your allergies are severe and don’t seem to be improving. Antihistamines can reduce allergic reactions by cutting off the histamine to cells in the body that cause allergies. Decongestants are another option: They provide relief to swollen nasal passages to help make breathing easier. Decongestants also help reduce blood vessels to relieve reddish eyes. Popular decongestants include phenylephrine.
Mast cell stabilizers can stop cells from releasing histamine. Histamine can dilute the blood vessels. It is best to take mast cell stabilizers before your eye allergies get severe because it takes a few weeks for them to work properly. Mast cell stabilizers can reduce the irritation of any future allergic reactions. Anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed to get rid of swelling. Steroids are another option, but they can cause potentially serious side effects, such as glaucoma and cataracts.
If you wear contacts, you should frequently remove them. The surface of contact lenses is vulnerable to airborne allergens. Think about alternative shades of eyewear during the highest parts of allergy season, so perhaps you should switch to disposable contacts to avoid getting buildup on your lenses. Wearing shades that have special photochromic lenses can protect your eyes from allergens.
Many people are unaware that they may actually be allergic to contact lenses. Research has shown that the buildup that occurs over time on contacts if they are not properly cleaned can irritate eyes. Silicone hydrogel is the preferred lens material because more oxygen passes through the lens. That makes them less likely to have allergens build up on the lenses.