Coping with eye allergies

Warm sunny days are here again and most welcome them with open arms after a long, cold winter. The disadvantage for allergy sufferers is that allergens are everywhere and appear to be particularly bad this year.

Allergies not only affect the nasal passages, but can also affect the eyes. Eye allergy or allergic conjunctivitis can cause itching, redness, swelling of the lid, watery eyes, sensitivity to light and swollen eyes. The severity of the symptoms can range from mild irritation to severe itching and burning.

It is estimated that 20% of Americans suffer from eye allergies. The eyes are particularly vulnerable to allergens and irritants. Allergens cause the release of histamine into the cells of the eye, which causes blood vessels to dilate and itchy mucous membranes, causing inflammation of the eyes and eyelids. When the blood vessels expand, multiple allergen molecules can flow from the bloodstream to the eye, causing redness and swelling.

Allergens are more common outdoors, but the most common indoor allergens include pet hair, dust mites and mold. These indoor allergens are present all year round and cause perennial allergic conjunctivitis for some.

For contact lens wearers, irritation caused by eye allergies can be particularly severe. Allergens can bind to the surface of contact lenses and prolong exposure to the eyes. Eye allergies can cause some contact lens wearers to stop wearing contacts. Increasing the frequency of lens replacement can be helpful. Talk to your doctor about daily supplies. A research study found that 67% of allergy patients reported greater comfort with newspapers.


The response of symptoms to antihistamine drugs can indicate whether the symptoms are caused by allergies. Allergological tests and reviews of the patient’s life and environment help identify sources.

In case of eye allergy:

Consult an allergist to identify the symptoms causing allergens.

Some people find comfort in cold compresses on the eyes. Compression reduces inflammation in the blood vessels. Refrigerator-cooled artificial tears can provide similar relief.

Topical medications are commonly used and tend to be an effective eye allergy treatment. Providing drugs directly to the eye reduces the risk of side effects to other areas of the body. Double-acting antiallergic drugs are applied twice a day and combine antihistamines with drugs that stabilize the ocular mast cells. These medications can be applied before inserting lenses in the morning and after they have been removed at night, keeping contact lens wear and minimizing the discomfort associated with allergies. Ask your doctor if this could work for you.

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