The eyes are the most sensitive organ of the body. Even when a microscopic foreign body enters the eye, it can cause severe irritations. That is why the eyes are protected with tear glands that clean the eye every second. However, it happens that many people develop allergic reactions when dust, pollen, or dander enters the eyes. So, the natural defense mechanism of the body, the antibody, gets activated and the mast cell releases active substances like histamines. These histamines dilate the blood vessels, irritate the nerves, and also increase the secretion of tears and gives rise to a host of other symptoms. The main area of the eyes that is affected is the conjunctiva. This is a thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye, and when any allergens come in contact with it, it leads to itching or swelling. That is why eye allergy is also known as allergic conjunctivitis. With allergy being one of the most common disorders and the increase in pollution level, more and more people are suffering from eye allergies. Many people, at first, don’t realize that the irritation and redness in their eyes is due to eye allergies as they think that the dust or the dander can be washed away, and the eyes will heal in a couple of days. It is only when the condition deteriorates that they seek medical help. Read below to know the causes, symptoms, and treatment of eye allergies.
Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment Of Eye Allergies
- The main cause is due to the contact of airborne allergens like pollen, dust dander etc with the eyes.
- Sometimes even bee stings can cause allergies but not to that level as airborne allergens.
- Certain foods are also known to cause eye allergy.
- Application of certain cosmetics or drugs is another reason. Reactions caused by eye drops can cause eye allergies.
- The eyes become swollen and red. There is also a constant itch.
- The nose also becomes runny.
- There is also a mucus secretion from the eyes. This may also result in blurry vision.
- Frequent sneezing and coughing also accompanies eye allergies.
- There is also itchiness in the nose, mouth, and throat.
- Due to sinus congestion, there is a constant headache.
- Increase in tiredness and lack of proper sleep.
- There are two types of eye allergies — Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC) and Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis (PAC).
- The symptoms of SAC generally occur during the spring and the fall. They also have the symptoms of hay fever. An added symptom in this can be an increased sensitivity to light. The inside of the eyelids may swell making the eyes look watery and gelatinous.
- The symptoms of PAC can occur throughout the year. They are less severe than SAC symptoms.
- The best treatment is to avoid the allergens that cause eye allergy. So, you should stay inside with the air conditioner on and keep the house free from dander, dust, and pollens. When going out wear wrap around sunglasses to shield the eyes from the allergens.
- Medications can also be used to alleviate the symptoms. You can use eye drops containing antihistamines or mast cell stabilizers to inhibit the inflammation. You can also use decongestions to relieve the swollen nasal passages. This will help you to breathe easy.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are also beneficial. They can reduce the swelling and the redness. However, it should not be used for long term as they have a variety of side effects.
- You can also dab the eyes with artificial tears. This will dilute the allergens and also prevent them from sticking into the inner eye lid. The artificial tears also enhance the defense of the natural tear.