Allergies can affect the body in a variety of different ways, but it seems that the eyes take quite the beating when it comes to allergies. The most common types of allergens include pollen, dust (and dust mites), wasp and bee stings, mold, pet dander and even some chemicals found around the house. In addition to these common allergens, there are millions of people that have allergies to foods, medicines and metals as well. While the body can react differently to these allergens, there are particular reactions that become apparent in common eye allergies.
TYPES OF COMMON EYE ALLERGIES
There are two types of eye allergies: seasonal and perennial.
Seasonal Eye Allergies
These allergies happen during certain times of the year. For many people, it’s usually triggered in early spring through summer and then into autumn. The triggers are airborne and commonly found in the pollen from grass, treats, weeds, and molds.
Perennial Eye Allergies
These allergies happen all year long and are typically caused by things like dust mites, down feathers (found in pillows and bedding), and pet dander. Other things like perfumes, smoke, cosmetics and medicines can also play a rule.
Eye allergies are allergic reactions on the surface of the eye and are typically caused by airborne allergens getting into the eye. They can also be transferred to the eye by touching or itching the eye. Eye allergies can be detected by severe pink or red appearance of the eye and swollen or puffy eyelids.
PREVENTION & TREATMENT
First and foremost, one of the best ways to help you prevent an allergic reaction is to first know what your triggers are. Some will be very obvious to you, such as a food or allergy to a pet (like coming in contact with a cat). However, if you are getting frequent allergic reactions and you aren’t sure what your triggers are, a doctor can help you narrow down which allergens are triggering your allergic reactions.
Once you know what your triggers are, the next step in prevention is to avoid obvious contact with the allergic triggers. For example, if you know that you are allergic and get a reaction to pollen and the pollen count for the day is high, stay indoors and close the windows. If it’s warm, you can run the air conditioner instead of running any kind of fans (especially window fans). If you go outside, wear eyeglasses or sunglasses to help block airborne allergens from getting into your eyes.
If you are allergic to dust and dust mites, there are things that you can do around your house to help prevent your exposure. Consider getting air purifiers to help clear the air out and limit your exposure by using special pillow and mattress coverings that help keep allergens out. It’s also helpful to make sure to frequently wash your bedding and replace old mattresses. Some other household suggestions for avoiding allergic reactions to dust and/or pet dander include blinds over curtains and installing hardwood or tile floors instead of carpet.
If you are experiencing an allergic reaction that is affecting your eyes, there are several things that you can do to help stop and treat the symptoms of allergies. It is very important that you avoid itching your eyes, as it will only make things worse. You risk getting more allergens into the eye, irritating or scratching the eye, and causing damage. You can use eye drops to help clear the eye surface from any allergens and ease the dryness and itchiness of the eye. You should also be sure to frequently wash and clean your hands and avoid itching or touching your eye whenever possible. You can also take over the counter and prescription allergy medication to help manage your allergies.
While allergies can definitely take its toll on your eyes, it doesn’t have to with the proper assessment, prevention and treatment. Please do not hesitate to contact Advanced Eye Medical today for any questions or concerns you may have regarding common eye allergies.