Eye allergies occur when certain allergens—like pollen and pet dander—cause your eyes to react. Eye allergies may cause:
You may experience one or all of these symptoms, which can be mild or severe. At times, they might also be accompanied by symptoms of nasal allergies, such as sneezing or a stuffy nose.
Many common allergens exist both indoors and outdoors. Some specific triggers that your eyes may be sensitive to include:
You can take measures to avoid triggers during times of high pollen by:
If you’re still affected, you can purchase over-the-counter relief medications or, in more severe cases, visit Dr. Stein for more effective prescriptions medications.
Eye allergies affect each patient differently, depending on how sensitized your immune system is to certain allergens. Unfamiliar particles in the environment cause allergic reactions by coming into contact with the antibodies in your eyes. Those cells then respond by releasing histamine and other chemicals that cause the tiny blood vessels to leak and create eye allergy symptoms.
These symptoms can often be confused with those of eye diseases, making a proper diagnosis crucial for appropriate treatment.
There are various forms of eye allergies, ranging from mild to severe. The most common type is seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), which depends on the specific season and ensuing pollen that affects certain individuals. Patients might seek relief for their uncomfortable but common symptoms that include itching and redness. Rubbing your eyes might be tempting, but doing so increases your risk of infection.
Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC) prompts the same symptoms as SAC, but milder, except that this type of allergy affects patients year-round. It’s also usually a reaction to indoor allergens such as dust mites or pet dander, as opposed to pollen.
Vernal keratoconjunctivitis and atopic keratoconjunctivitis refer to two types of more severe eye allergies, with serious symptoms affecting the patient year-round and potentially worsening seasonally. Symptoms include:
Left untreated, they can lead to impaired vision. Other types of serious eye allergies include contact allergic conjunctivitis and giant papillary conjunctivitis, which result most commonly from irritable contact lenses. Schedule an immediate appointment with Dr. Stein if you think you may be affected by a severe eye allergy.
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