What You Need to Know About Eye Allergies

Don't ignore itchy, watery eyes. Many times, this discomfort is caused by eye allergies, and depending on the severity, it may be easily treated. These allergies are uncomfortable, irritating and, at times, painful.
What Are the Symptoms of Eye Allergies?
Eye allergies commonly cause red, itchy eyes and swollen eyelids. This allergy can be very irritating and unsightly. Allergies occur when you come in contact with an allergen and the mast cells in your eyes release histamines that can cause your eyes to water and itch. This may be accompanied with a combination of other symptoms such as a runny nose, coughing, sneezing or a headache.
What Can Trigger Eye Allergies?
There are many things in our environment that can trigger an allergic reaction that can affect your eyes. The most common triggers are grass, weeds, trees and pet dander. Perfume, cigarette smoke and many other allergens can cause reactions ranging from mild to severe. You may be allergic to a specific indoor or outdoor allergen or you can have a reaction to a broad range of allergens.
How Can Eye Allergies be Treated?
It is best to limit your contact with anything that may cause an allergic reaction but at times it can be unavoidable. The most common reaction to an allergy of the eyes is seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Some mild allergy symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications, but if you find that this does not control your symptoms, or if your symptoms are severe and disruptive to your daily activities, you should visit a health professional. Allergies in general will not harm your eyesight but there are some rarer conditions that cause inflammation and can affect your eye sight.
Contact Lenses and Eye Allergies
Some contact wearers suffer from these allergies. Symptoms can make it difficult to wear contacts. Allergens can adhere to your lenses and cause a reaction. Before you use eye drops to alleviate your symptoms, check with your doctor to make sure that they don't contain anything that may harm your lenses. You may also consider switching to disposable lenses that you change nightly. Allergens are less likely to adhere to your lenses and cause discomfort with frequent replacement.
You can check your local allergy map to see when allergy season in your area is active. It will help to have on hand any allergy medications you need to control flare-ups. Your doctor can also offer advice and medications to eliminate or reduce your symptoms.
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