Eye allergies are also called ocular allergies and sometime referred to as allergic conjunctivitis. They happen when allergens come into contact with the conjunctiva, which is the membrane that covers the white part of the eye.
Eye allergies are of two main types
The two types are Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis and Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis. If your allergy isseasonal, your triggers are likely to be pollen, grass, weeds and so on and will usually resolve during the winter months. However, the latter type of allergy may persist through the year and the triggers could be pet dander, certain cosmetics or medications.
Symptoms of eye allergies
Reddening of the eye, itching, burning and swelling as well as an increase in the amount of tears produced by the tear ducts usually characterize an eye allergy. Symptoms can worsen if you touch or rub your eyes.
When to see a doctor
Firstly, other problems that could be causing the symptoms should be ruled out. Sometimes it could be other conditions such as Dry Eye or a Block tear duct or even an infection that could be causing the symptoms.
In other words, your symptoms are not due to an allergy in such cases and should be treated accordingly.
Avoiding contact with allergens can help to keep allergy flare-ups and their frequency in control. However, if your eye allergies are frequent and severe enough to bother you, and if you cannot avoid allergens, you should consult with a doctor.
Testing will confirm whether you indeed have an eye allergy, after which appropriate treatment can be initiated. Various over the counter or prescription eye drops will ease symptoms without any side effects. In severe cases, corticosteroids may be required. Though there is some side effect risk associated with topical ophthalmic corticosteroids, the newer versions of these drugs are quite safe and associated with far less risk.
Home care for eye allergies
The most import thing you can do for preventing allergy flare-ups is to identify triggers and avoid those allergens.
At home, reduce the kind of furnishings where allergens such as dust, pollen and mold can collect. Cushions, canopies, heavy draperies, ruffles and knick knacks tend to collect a lot of allergens so have fewer of these items in the home. Use hypoallergenic bedding and HEPA filters if advised to do so.
Keep away from pets if pet dander is one of the allergens that trouble you. And consider the fact thatdander could bother you even if you visit a home where there is a pet, or by sitting in a seat where the pet is used to sitting.