Nearly 50 million Americans suffer from allergic reactions which involves eye allergies as the most common complaint. Eye allergies are the most troublesome of all allergies. An allergy which afflicts conjunctiva is often referred to as allergic conjunctivitis. It is primarily divided into many subtypes. Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC) and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) are the most common subtypes. PAC and SAC are caused by the reaction of the immune system involving an allergen and sensitized individual. In short, if you’re allergic to certain substance and come in contact with it, you experience allergic reactions such as sneezing, itching, etc.
If your eyes turn red, are itchy, tearing or burning, then you may have an eye allergy or allergic conjunctivitis. You become allergic when your body’s immune system overreacts or is sensitive to something that is ordinarily harmless. These substances are called allergens which attack mast cells of eyes, releasing histamine and other chemicals. The substances when released cause blood vessels in the eyes to swell and the eyes become itchy, red and watery. The following article gives you a detailed description on eye allergies.
Eye Allergies Triggers
Allergens which are present outdoors or indoors can trigger eye allergies. Following are some of the eye allergy causes:
- Weed pollen, tree pollen and grass pollen are the most common outdoor airborne allergens. People who are very sensitive to these allergens may suffer from allergic conjunctivitis.
- The most common indoor allergens include molds, dust mites and pet dander or hair. These allergens can cause symptoms throughout the year in some people. It results in perennial allergic conjunctivitis.
- Diesel, cigarette smoke and perfume exhaust can inflame the eyes. They may act like irritants which trigger non-allergic symptoms or sometimes they can worsen the allergic reactions.
Symptoms of Eye Allergy
Allergic symptoms usually appear before the age of 30 and the condition is often hereditary. Irritation of the eye is produced when it is being rubbed with an allergen or otherwise exposed to it. Perennial allergic conjunctivitis and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis exhibit similar symptoms. Only the timing of symptoms is different. Symptoms of SAC are limited to a specific season that is fall, spring, summer, where as the symptoms of PAC probably last throughout the year.
Always the symptom of itching indicates an allergic reaction. This is true for allergic conjunctivitis because the primary symptom includes ocular itching. Apart from ocular itching, you may also experience the below symptoms:
- Mucus and/or matter production
- Blurred vision
- Burning sensation
These are some of the symptoms of eye allergies. Consult the doctor immediately if the symptoms persist for a long period.
Treatment for Eye Allergy
If your eyes are too sensitive to common allergies, you need to take some eye allergy treatment for immediate relief. There are many ways to treat eye allergies, which include home treatment, medical treatment and natural remedies If eye allergy treatment is delayed, it can lead to some other serious consequences. So, it is good to go for an immediate treatment.
Self Care at Home
The important thing about allergies is to avoid exposure to the allergen. When the particular allergen causing eye allergy symptoms is identified, then it can be avoided so that the symptoms will reduce dramatically. To find relief from the symptoms, you can try the following given tips:
- Clean your residence and surroundings regularly to remove dust and mold.
- Minimize carpeting that can harbor dust mites.
- Reduce the allergen load by minimizing the clutter where in allergens could collect. For this, you should limit bedding, pillows, draperies and linens, like canopies and dust raffles. Also limit the number of knickknacks that can collect dust.
- Use filters and barriers. You should cover pillows and mattresses with impermeable materials. Keep the windows and doors closed so that the outside allergens would not enter inside. You should also keep allergen filters in both air conditioners and furnaces in your home so as to filter the allergens entering inside the home and need to change them often.
- Eliminate standing water and water leaks that can encourage growth of mold and bacteria.
Avoiding allergens may not be possible always. If this is the case, the following home treatments can help you in providing relief from eye allergy symptoms.
- Use lubricating eye drops or artificial tears as they can help in flushing out the allergens that enter into the eyes.
- Applying cold compresses to the eyes can also provide relief from eye conditions.
- Use over the counter medications that include oral antihistamines or allergy eye drops as directed by the physician.
There are various medical treatment techniques that help in treating eye allergy symptoms. But medical treatment should be opted only with doctor’s prescription. There are allergy eye drops and oral antihistamines which can relieve allergic symptoms. The medical eye allergy treatment includes the following options:
– Artificial tears help the eyes by rinsing away the allergens from the eyes, therefore providing relief from the eye allergy symptoms. They cause relief to the irritated and dry eyes by adding extra moisture. These can be used even without any prescription.
– These are available in two forms – with and without antihistamines. They help in reducing the redness of the eyes from allergies. A decongestant that contains antihistamine provides another benefit of relieving eye itching. These eye drops should not be used for longer periods, as long term usage can increase the irritating symptoms in the eye.
– These oral medications also help in providing relief from eye itchiness. But at times, they can worsen eye allergy symptoms by making the eyes dry.
Antihistamines and Mast Cell Stabilizers
– Eye drops with a combination of these two medications help in reducing eye itchiness and prevent recurrence of eye allergies. They can be used two times a day to relieve redness, itching, burning and tearing.
– They help in treating severe and chronic eye allergy symptoms which include redness, swelling and itching.
– If eye allergy symptoms are not controlled by any of the above home and medical treatments, then immunotherapy is the option. This is a technique where in allergy shots are injected into the body and the dose is increased gradually over time. This helps in making the body develop the resistance towards the allergens.
Natural remedy for eye allergy is the best way to treat with. Here is a list of herbs that can be used to make eyewash solution which helps in providing eye allergy relief.
– This herb is very effective in providing relief from eye allergy and a small amount is enough for an eye wash solution. It can be combined with any other herb for more effectiveness. It improves blood circulation and therefore this increased flow of blood to the eyes helps in releasing toxic substances, allowing the eyes to get cleansed by their own.
– This is an excellent herb that soothes inflamed mucus membranes, shrinks inflamed tissues and an antiseptic. When combined with cayenne, it is more effective.
Rowan Berry Herb
– This is effective in treating various eye disorders like cataracts, night blindness, macular degeneration, retinopathy and glaucoma.
Red Raspberry Leaves
– These are excellent for providing immense relief to the eyes and even shrink the inflamed eye tissues. It contains pain relieving substances.
– This herb is known for its amazing healing properties. It has got the ability to shrink inflamed tissues, reduce pain and reduce mucus secretion.
These are the ingredients that can be used to prepare the eye wash.
Eyewash Preparation – Take one part of each herb mentioned above with an exception of cayenne, which uses 1/16th or 1/8th part. Steep them in a cup of boiling water and strain the solution through a nylon cloth. Cool the solution. Take an eye cup, gently pour a teaspoon of solution in it and bend your head forward. Place the cup gently and firmly opposite the eye region so that the solution does not leak out. Open and blink the eye many times so that the solution can wash the eye.
You can feel a mild burning sensation when the eye comes in contact with cayenne pepper. If this is the case, remove the eye cup and place a wet, cold paper towel over the eye. Hold this until the burning sensation subsides.
This natural remedy for eye allergy provides effective relief if you can build the ability to bear the burning sensation. Perform this at least 3 to 4 times a day until you get relief from eye problems.
Prevention of Eye Allergies
Here are a few tips which will be beneficial in avoiding eye allergens and decreasing the eye allergic symptoms.
- Regularly check the pollen counts. You can easily get this information on internet sites or on any local weather channel. Restrict your outdoor visits during high pollen counts. Always wear glasses while venturing outdoors especially when the pollen count is high. Special protection to the eyes during the mid morning and early evening hours is essential because the pollen count is often at its peak then.
- Ask somebody to help you in trimming your garden grass. Don’t do it yourself.
- Restrict your visits to dense wooden regions and do not plan outdoor trips during the pollen season.
- During warmer season close your windows and doors. It’s better if you use an air-conditioner. But if the pollen counts are extremely high then using air-conditioner is not advisable.
- You can go for High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. This filtering system is highly effective in filtering allergens from the air of your room.
- Use a dehumidifier and maintain a humidity level lower than 50%. High humidity creates the perfect breeding ground for mildew and molds. The mold spores get airborne and cause the eye allergies. Clean bathrooms, basements and other damp places well. The dehumidifier itself should be cleaned often with 1 to 10 parts of bleach and water.
- Use hypoallergenic bed spreads and pillow cases.
- Go for hardwood flooring over wall to wall carpets. Wet mop floors periodically. In case you have carpets, steam cleaning carpets once a month would be a good idea during the allergy season.
- If you have pets, restrict them to certain areas of your house. Bathe them often and wash hands after petting them.
This is all about eye allergies in detail.