How Allergies affect your eyes
Spring is a beautiful time of the year, but for many of us that beauty comes at the high cost of seasonal allergies. Once March and April roll around, those of us who suffer from seasonal allergies are often reminded of that fact by red, itchy eyes accompanied by a stuffy nose and sneezing. As a leading eye care provider in Louisiana, we get a lot of questions from our patients about how seasonal allergies can affect the eyes. This includes questions about what causes allergic reactions in the eyes, as well as how to avoid the redness and itchiness come allergy season. Read on below for answers to common questions about allergies and your eyes. Need an eye exam or think something more serious may be wrong with your vision? Call us to schedule an appointment or speak to a member of our staff.
Table of Contents:
- What are eye allergies?
- What causes eye allergies?
- What are the symptoms of eye allergies?
- How can I avoid or stop eye allergies?
- Are eye allergies contagious?
Have more questions or need to talk to our staff? Contact us through the form below.
What are eye allergies?
Eye allergies are quite common among people here in Louisiana and throughout the country. They are also called allergic conjunctivitis. An allergic reaction occurs in the eye when it reacts to something that irritates them, such as pollen from grass and trees in the spring. The eyes then produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen. As a result of this process, the conjunctiva and eyelids become red, itchy, and sometimes swollen. Unlike some other forms of conjunctivitis, eye allergies do not spread to other people.
What causes eye allergies?
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system reacts to an allergen that is typically harmless. Certain cells within your eye, called mast cells, release histamine to fight off the allergen. This is what causes your eyes to become itchy, swollen, and red. Different allergens cause this reaction, and they can be found both indoors and outdoors. Some of the most common eye allergens include:
- Pet dander
Some allergies to cosmetics, perfume, or drugs can also cause this type of allergic response in the eye. You are more likely to be allergic to something if both your parents are allergic to the same substance.
What are the symptoms of eye allergies?
When your eye reacts to an allergen, common symptoms can include:
- Redness of the eye
- Swelling in the eye
- Itchiness of the eye
- And others in some cases.
If you are unsure whether the symptoms you are experiencing are related to an allergy or something more serious, call us and come in for an eye exam or speak to a member of our staff.
How can I avoid or stop eye allergies?
The principal treatment for eye allergies is simply to avoid or limit contact with the substance that is causing you the problem. For example, if you are allergic to pollen then you can avoid spending time outdoors when pollen counts are high during the spring months. Make sure to keep windows closed and use air conditioning in your home and car. In the car, make sure the AC is set to internal air only, not to pull air from outside the vehicle. There are a variety of eye drops and medicines available to try and reduce the symptoms of eye allergies. Speak to your doctor for recommendations as to what may be effective for you. If you are still having problems, schedule an appointment with one of our Louisiana practices to speak to a doctor about possible solutions.
Are eye allergies contagious?
A fun fact about eye allergies fall into the same eye condition as pink eye. Both pink eye and eye allergies are a form of conjunctivitis. This fact may make some parents or individuals curious as to whether or not eye allergies are contagious like pink eye. While both pink eye and eye allergies both fall under the umbrella of conjunctivitis, they are different types of conjunctivitis. Pink eye is typically caused by a virus or bacteria that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva. Eye allergies are caused by an irritant such as pollen or pets. Being that eye allergies are not caused by a virus or bacteria means that they are not contagious. Someone may be allergic to the same irritant or allergen but it would be difficult for an eye allergen to spread from one person to another. If you are experiencing eye allergies and would like to speak to an eye care professional here at Louisiana Eye eye and laser, give us a call or fill out the online contact form below. We will be more than happy to schedule an appointment at one of our Louisiana eye doctor locations.