Red and Itchy Eyes? Know the Symptoms, Causes and Treatments for Ocular Allergies
Spring is in the air here in New Jersey. The warmer weather, blooming plants and budding trees are an indication that pollen counts are high. When an allergic reaction takes place, your eyes are over-reacting to a substance perceived as harmful. These substances are called allergens.
Dust is harmless to most people, but can cause excessive production of tears and mucus in the eyes of allergic individuals. Allergies can trigger other problems, such as conjunctivitis and asthma.
Approximately 30-50% of U.S. residents have allergy symptoms and about 75% of those allergic symptoms affect the eyes.
Signs & Symptoms of Allergic Conjunctivitis
•Itchy, burning, tearing eyes
•Red, swollen eyelids and/or redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
Causes of Allergic Conjunctivitis
•Seasonal allergies caused by allergens such as pollen, grass, & other airborne particles.
Reasons to Treat Allergic Conjunctivitis
•To help the eye look, feel & function normally and to prevent problems from recurring
•To prevent uncomfortable feelings in the eye, sensitivity to light, infection, and possible weakened vision.
•To improve contact lens comfort in patients with allergies.
What is the difference between Seasonal and Perennial Allergies?
•Seasonal allergies are usually caused by pollen, which comes from grasses (such as ragweed), trees and flowering plants. This usually happens during the spring, late summer and autumn months.
•Perennial allergies occur year-round because the allergies that cause the symptoms are always present. Some common household allergens that cause perennial eye allergies include dust mites, mold, pet hair and pet dander.
How Can I Reduce Ocular Allergies?
The best way to manage your ocular allergies is to reduce contact with the allergens that irritate your eyes. Here is what you can do:
•Wash your hands, face & hair frequently to keep them free of allergens.
•Use air filters, and make sure that your home is vacuumed regularly.
•Avoid or reduce outdoor activities when the pollen counts are high.
•Close windows & doors to keep allergens out.
•Eliminate sources of mold around your house.
•If you have ocular allergies, try to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, as this may worsen the symptoms.