Have itchy, red eyes been an all too common occurrence for you since the beginning of fall this year? You may be suffering from eye allergies. While it is estimated that 50 million Americans suffer from all types of allergies, approximately 4 percent of allergy sufferers report that eye allergies are their primary allergy. Itchy eyes are the most common symptom associated with eye allergies and it is triggered by outdoor and indoor allergens. For some, eye allergies can prove so uncomfortable and irritating that they interfere with job performance, impede leisure or sports activities, and even curtail vacations.
But what are eye allergies and how do you know if you are suffering from this condition? Eye allergies can encompass many symptoms such as itching, burning and dryness that are caused by allergens in our environment and is commonly referred to as “allergic conjunctivitis” by your eye care professional. This is a reaction to indoor and outdoor allergens (such as pollen, mold, dust mites or pet dander) that get into your eyes and cause inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and helps keep your eyelid and eyeball moist. Eye allergies are not contagious. Other substances called “irritants” (such as dirt, smoke and chlorine) and even viruses and bacteria, can compound the effect of eye allergies, or even cause irritation symptoms similar to eye allergies for people who may not even have allergies.
The eyes are an easy target for allergens and irritants because, like the skin, they are exposed and sensitive to the outside environment. Certain medications and cosmetics can also cause eye allergy symptoms. By way of response to these allergens and irritants, the body releases chemicals called histamines, which in turn produce inflammation.
In very mild cases, oral allergy medication may help relieve itchy eyes along with cold compresses to the eyes a few times each day. However, your eye care professional is best able to treat this condition with specific anti-allergy drops that can keep those red, itchy eyes away and have you back outdoors enjoying the beauty of fall. Learn more at https://coopervision.com/blog/fall-eye-allergy-tips