07 Nov Allergies that affect the eye
Allergy type symptoms like runny or itchy noses, sneezing, coughing and sinus infections, affect a large majority of people.
But an unlucky percentage of allergy sufferers experience most of their symptoms through their eyes.
With allergies, that affect the eyes, also called “allergic conjunctivitis,” exposure to allergens like dust mites, pet dander, pollen and mold, inflame the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid called the conjunctival layer.
Any condition that cause an inflammatory response in this tissue is call conjunctivitis, a name very familiar to people. Various reasons exist resulting in conjunctivitis e.g. virus or bacterial infection, trauma injuries, contact lens wear and allergies.
Allergic type symptoms include burning, itchiness, tearing, swelling leading to a gritty sensation.
Some patients report blurred vision and fatigue. Eyes can become so painful and irritated that they disrupt everyday life.
What’s the best way to avoid eye allergies? It is impossible to completely avoid allergens like dust. For this reason, most people turn to over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Allergies that affect the eyes can be especially challenging for people who wear contact lenses. Some people will simply avoid wearing contacts during allergy season. Others opt for allergy-friendly lenses, like daily disposables. In particular, one-day contact lenses avoid build-up and eliminate exposure to irritating cleaning and disinfecting solutions.
We offer the following tips for people living with eye allergies:
- Don’t touch or rub your eyes. Rubbing your eyes can damage tissue. Also, if you have anything on your hands, you risk getting it in your eyes.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If you do happen to touch your eyes with your hands, it is safer if your hands are clean.
- Wash your bed linens and pillowcases often. At least once a week, wash your sheets and pillowcases in hot water and detergent. The hot water will help remove airborne allergens that have fallen on you sheets and will kill dust mites.
- Avoid wearing eye makeup. Cosmetics can cause eye allergy symptoms or further irritate eyes that are already experiencing an allergic reaction.
- Don’t share eye makeup. You can easily transfer infectious bacteria through shared makeup tools.
You do not have to tolerate itchy, watery eyes. If you suffer from eye allergies, see your optometrist about possible treatment options.