Eye allergies are similar to its nasal counterpart.This highly common eye condition occurs when an allergen irritates the eye, specifically the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva protects the sclera (white surface of the eyeball) and the inner folds of the eyelids from the external environment. In turn, the eyes would produce histamine to fight off the allergen. This would then result to the eyelids, conjunctiva and sclera redden and swell, while itching and tearing. It is not contagious and cannot be transmitted to people. Eye allergies are also called allergic conjunctivitis or ocular allergy.
Those who suffer from eye allergies tend to have accompanying nasal allergies. Symptoms of nasal allergies include sneezing and itchy and stuffy nose. The eyes are highly prone to allergies because it is directly exposed to the environment without a filtering system, unlike the nose. Eye allergies are usually harmless and temporary. They do not typically cause long-term consequences.
Conditions that are commonly mistaken for eye allergies include: bacterial or viral conjunctivitis, dry eye syndrome, and tear-duct obstruction. To learn more about eye allergies and other eye conditions, enroll in First Aid Training to be educated on proper treatment and management.
Causes of Eye Allergies
When an allergen comes into contact with the bod, the immune system recognizesthe otherwise innocuous substance as an allergen. The hypersensitive immune system will then produce immunoglobulin E (IgE) travel to the mast cells that releases histamine causing the allergic reaction. Some of the common indoor and outdoor allergens causing eye allergies include:
- Indoor allergens
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Spores from molds
- Outdoor allergens
- Cigarette smoke
- Diesel exhaust
- Grass, trees pollen
- Certain drugs
- Hay fever
Symptoms of Eye Allergies
Eye allergies typically affect both eyes.
- Red, itchy eyes
- Puffy, swollen eyes
- Teary, burning eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- May occur with symptoms of nasal allergies
First Aid Treatment and Management for Eye Allergies
A visit to the allergist or immunologist will determine if the
person is allergic to a certain substance. However, if a person suffers from eye allergies, first aid treatment will help ease symptoms and avoid development of possible complications.
- Takeover-the-counter oral antihistamines to stop allergic reactions.
- Saline rinses and eye lubricants may help ease irritated eyes.
- Don’t rub the eyes. This may exacerbate eye allergies.
Prevention for Eye Allergies
- If the trigger is known, avoid it at all times.
- Keep the house clean to remove dust and pet dander in the surroundings. Clean the floors with a damp mop.
- If one goes outside, wear a hat with a wide brim. Also, wear sunglasses to limit chances of allergens coming into contact with the eyes.
- After spending time outdoors, use saline drops for the eyes to remove allergens that are in the ocular lining.
- When pollen counts are high outdoors, try to stay indoors.
- If pets are causing eye allergies, keep the pet outside or at least out of the bedroom.