Spring is on the way…and so is allergy season. Although seasonal allergies have a bad reputation, perennial (year-round) allergies can have just as much of an effect on your eyes. But why do allergies affect your eyes at all, and what can you do to find eye allergy relief?
At Vision Pro Optical, we know that many of our patients manage their allergies through over-the-counter allergy medication. However, allergies can uniquely affect your eyes, so we’ve compiled some information to help you manage ocular allergies — this allergy season and every season!
Why Do Allergies Make Your Eyes Burn?
One of the most common allergy symptoms are red, itchy, burning eyes. When you encounter an allergen in the air — like dust, pollen, or pet dander — it triggers your immune response, creating antibodies that cause your body to release a substance called histamine.
Histamine is a chemical that helps your body get rid of the allergen, and it’s what makes you sneeze, gives you a runny nose, and makes your eyes water and burn: it’s an attempt to flush the allergen from your body. Histamines also increase blood flow to the area affected, which causes inflammation. That’s why your eyelids swell, or your skin begins to itch, when you have an allergic reaction.
What Helps Eye Allergies?
Many of us try to steer clear of substances that we know will trigger an allergic reaction, such as avoiding eating certain foods and being around certain animals. But pollen, mold, and dust are sometimes unavoidable, especially in the spring. Luckily, there are a number of allergy treatments that can help.
Prescription and over-the-counter oral antihistamines continue to be a popular option, but they can also lead to dry eye symptoms. Decongestant eye drops, nasal sprays, and using hypoallergenic pillow and mattress protectors are also great options, depending on your triggers.
If you’re experiencing itchy eyes from allergies, rubbing your eyes may worsen your discomfort, so a cold compress can provide relief. Decreasing contact lens wear can also address the symptoms of ocular allergies, but that may not be a valid option for everyone, so talk to your eye doctor about alternative options, such as prescription eye drops.
Eye Allergy Treatment in Minnesota and Wisconsin
Ocular allergies can be extremely uncomfortable, and seasonal allergy eye symptoms — redness, itching and burning, excessive tearing, and puffy eyelids — overlap heavily with those of other eye conditions, like dry eye disease and blepharitis, both of which can damage your vision if left untreated.
If you’re experiencing any of the above side effects, it’s time to go see your eye doctor — no matter the season! Contact us today to schedule an appointment at your nearest Vision Pro Optical location.