Allergy and the Eyes

Laser Vision Specialists serving Toms River, Brick, Barnegat & Manalapan Township, New Jersey

Allergy season is upon us and of course it comes with the inconvenience of runny noses and itchy watery eyes. A sniffle here and there isn’t too bad compared to the annoying and sometimes troublesome allergic reactions of the eyes. Most of us know the common causes for these symptoms and may even have taken steps such as monthly allergy shots or eye drops to remedy them. However, you may be missing the boat if your eyes develop more serious symptoms. Allergies are the body’s defenses against substances it feels will do it harm. For example, the body’s strategy against dust, normally harmless to most people, is to flood the eyes with tears and mucus.

Most allergens are airborne, such as pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. Of course these are the allergens that come into contact with your nose and eyes and are difficult to avoid. The obvious “treatment” would be to stay indoors with the air conditioner on and
to lock your pet away in the closet, but of course, these options are not very realistic.

Allergies cause other, more serious problems as well, like conjunctivitis or “pink eye.” More than 20 million Americans suffer from allergies, with most being affected with conjunctivitis caused by a variety of allergens, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Conjunctivitis due to allergens is defined as irritation of the covering of the eyeball (conjunctiva) as a reaction to a substance which one may feel sensitivity. Although not contagious, conjunctivitis causes the eye to become itchy, watery, red and swollen and is often painful. Whether caused by seasonal allergies or those experienced throughout the year, discomfort is typically followed by frequent “rubbing” of the eye, which could lead to permanent eye damage.
Identifying the specific allergens causing the problem is the first step to preventing these symptoms. In some cases, it may be necessary to consider medical treatments as a method of relief.

Speaking with your eye physician regarding treatment options is always recommended to identify the specifics of each allergic symptom and the alternatives, including their unique side effects and benefits. Together with your eye physician you will be able to select the treatment that best alleviates your symptoms.

August and September are the months that many of us dread due to the on-set of runny noses and itchy watery eyes caused by seasonal allergies. A sniffle here and a cough there aren’t too bad when compared to the inconvenience allergies cause our eyes.

Most of us know the primary causes of these symptoms and may have even taken the steps to temporarily relieve them. However, when it comes to our eyes, extra care should be taken to prevent more serious reactions. Allergies are the bodies defenses against substances it feels will do it harm. For example, the body’s strategy against dust, normally harmless to most people, is to flood the eyes with tears and mucus.

Most allergens are airborne, such as pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. It is these types of allergens that frequently come into contact with the nose and eyes and are difficult to avoid. The most obvious “treatment” would be to stay in an air conditioned home, have no real plants and have a goldfish as the family pet. Of course these remedies are not very realistic or favorable.

Allergies can also cause more serious problems, like allergy related conjunctivitis of the eye, a form of “pink eye.” More than 20 million Americans suffer from allergies, most affected by conjunctivitis caused by a variety of allergens, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Conjunctivitis due to allergens is defined as an irritation of the conjunctiva (the covering of the eyeball) as a reaction to a substance which one may be sensitive to. Although not contagious, conjunctivitis of the eye can be very itchy, watery, red, swollen and is often painful. Whether caused by seasonal allergies or those experienced throughout the year, discomfort is typically followed by frequent “rubbing,” which can lead to permanent eye damage.

Identifying irritable allergens is the first step toward preventing and treating symptoms. It is always recommended to schedule an appointment with an eye physician. In many cases, medical management can help single out the allergy or allergies causing discomfort.