Top 7 Ways to Manage Eye Allergies

Eye allergies

or Ocular allergies are the reactions experienced in eyes due to hypersensitivity to environmental allergens. The resulting condition is also known as Allergic Conjuctivitis. Ocular allergy is known to affect 20-25% of the population. Mostly seen in children and young adults, this disease is known to wane down with age. 50% of patients suffering from this particular allergy have a personal history of being allergic to other environmental irritants.

Causes of Ocular Allergies

Ocular allergies are caused when the body reacts adversely to the otherwise harmless environmental irritants like pollen, dander, dust mites, mold spores, chemicals in cosmetics, fragrances, smoke, polluted air etc. When the body comes in contact with the proteins in the specified allergens the body produces antibodies (IgE). These antibodies bind with the protein to form certain molecules which the body does not acknowledge. The body reacts by releasing histamines from the mast cells of the skin, gut and pharynx. The conjunctiva or the thin membranous layer on eyes is irritated by the histamine. The nerve endings of the blood vessels are irritated and the blood vessels are dilated causing inflammation.

Symptoms of Ocular Allergies

  • Symptoms worsen more in warm and dry weather and in the spring and summer months earmarked as the official allergy season when the environmental irritants in the air are at its highest.
  • Intense and severe itching. 75% of patients suffer from this symptom.
  • Red eyes with burning sensation and pain.
  • Swollen and heavy eyelids.
  • Watery eyes and involuntary secretion of tears.
  • Sensation of a foreign object being lodged in the eye.
  • Excessive discharge of eye wax forming a crust overnight and sticking eye lids together.
  • Change in the color and texture of under eye skin.

Top 7 ways to manage eye allergies

Following are 7 prevalent ways of protecting eyes from Ocular allergies.

1. Protection from Pollen:

  • In case you are suffering from seasonal allergies, try to avoid being outdoors in the pollen season when the count is high .
  • Wear a pair of sunglasses and pollen mask when going outdoors.

2. Antihistamines and Decongestants:

    Being on Antihistamines and decongestants from a little before the onset of the allergy season can bring down the intensity of the symptoms. Over the counter Loratidine, Claritin, Benadryl provides immediate relief.

3. Stay away from Pet Dander:

  • Your furry best friend may be the carrier of a lot of allergens unknowingly.
  • Get a hypoallergenic breed.
  • Wash your pet well and maintain personal hygiene in the house.
  • Limit movements of the pet to your bed room.

4. Use a dehumidifier:

  • A dehumidifier reduces moisture and prevents mold spores and dust mites from growing. The moisture indoors should be below 55%.

5. Regularly wash bed spreads and other accessories:

  • Bed Spreads, pillow cases and other accessories should be of the hypoallergenic kind. Else wash them frequently in hot water of 130 degree Fahrenheit to kill dust pores.

6. Vacuum clean regularly:

  • It would be wise to invest in a HEPA enabled vacuum cleaner and air filter to remove allergens like pollens, mold spores, pet dander etc.

7. Few Changes inside the house:

  • The basic decor of the house should not be ornate. Simple furniture do not catch dust and are highly recommended.
  • Hard wood floors should be chosen over wall to wall carpets. Blinds in place of fancy curtains etc can help keep a lot of allergens at bay.
  • Do not use swimming pools and keep outdoor furniture covered. Same is true for vehicles parked outside.

Treatment and prevention of Eye Allergies

  • Antihistamine eye drops and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are safe bets to relieve symptoms.
  • Combination of anti histamine and decongestant eye drop can be used for greater efficacy. However, decongestants are not meant for long term use. Patients of glaucoma, blood pressure and heart problems should avoid using these drops.
  • In extreme cases, corticosteroids drops available with a prescription are used to treat allergic eye symptoms.
  • Cold compresses also reduce swelling of the eye lids.
  • Eye washes with tear substitutes can be used.
  • Allergy shots or immunotherapy could also be used to vaccinate an individual against future occurrences of ocular allergies.

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