Frequently Asked Questions about Eye Allergies
Eye allergies can prove irritating and frustrating. If you think that may struggle with this issue yourself, you need to understand why eye allergies happen, what they look like, and how our team at Albuquerque Vision Care and Advanced Eyewear can treat them. Check out these frequently asked questions on the subject.
What Happens in an Allergic Reaction?
Your immune system normally protects your body against invading germs by releasing antibodies and histamine, creating inflammation in an effort to combat those germs. However, in an allergic reaction, the perceived germ is actually just a harmless everyday substance. When sensitive individuals are exposed to this substance, they experience an allergic reaction.
How Do Allergies Affect the Eyes?
The histamine reaction triggered by allergies can result in a condition known as allergic conjunctivitis. This condition resembles the other forms of "pinkeye" produced by viral infections. Symptoms typically include a watery discharge, red discoloration, dry eye, light sensitivity, and eye irritation.
What Are Some Common Triggers for Eye Allergies?
Common eye allergens include mold, tree or grass pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, industrial pollutants, household cleaning products, and perfume. You may also be allergic to cosmetics such as eyeliner or mascara. You can even have an allergic reaction to lubricating eye drops or dirty contact lenses.
How Can an Eye Doctor Address Allergy Issues?
Any eye doctor on our team can diagnose and treat eye allergies as well as annoying symptoms such as dry eyes and red eye issues. For instance, tiny bumps on the inner surfaces of the eyelids can help to confirm a case of allergic conjunctivitis as opposed to an infection or other lookalike eye problem. If you can't figure out what your eyes are allergic to, we can refer you to an allergist for additional tests.
Treatment usually involves some form of antihistamine medication. We can prescribe antihistamine eye drops to treat your red, irritated eyes topically. We can also provide you with anti-inflammatory or decongestant eye drops to reduce that embarrassing case of red eye. If your soft contact lenses contribute to your eye allergies, we can switch you to rigid contacts that don't accumulate irritants as easily.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Eyes Against Allergens?
Our optometry team can advise you on best practices for protecting your eyes against future allergy problems. For instance, we can instruct you on how to sterilize your contact lenses more thoroughly, removing potential allergens. We may also recommend the use of wraparound sunglasses that help you avoid dry eyes and common allergens.