One of the most irritating things is feeling like there is an object in your eye. However, if you experience eye irritation and notice that your eyes are red and you do not see anything in them, it could be eye allergies. Symptoms of this condition can appear independently but often accompany those related to nasal allergies.
The most common symptoms of ocular allergies include clear, watery discharge, itching, burning sensation, and swelling of the conjunctiva. They also include redness of the eyes, light sensitivity, eyelid swelling, and sneezing or runny nose.
These symptoms can be very annoying; however, they pose very little risk to your vision other than temporary blurriness. In addition, ocular allergies are not contagious, unlike infections such as pink eye.
An ocular allergy, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, is an eye allergy resulting from an allergic reaction in your conjunctiva. This is the inside of your eyelid as well as the delicate membrane that covers your eye. Like all types of allergies, ocular allergies happen when your immune system identifies an otherwise non-allergenic substance as an allergen. Consequently, your immune system overreacts and starts to produce antibodies that cause an allergic reaction.
The most common causes of ocular allergies are seasonal allergens, such as mold spores and pollen. Individuals with hay fever tend to experience worsening symptoms when they venture outdoors on high pollen count days.
Pet dander and dust mites, which are indoor allergens, can also cause ocular allergies. If you suffer from this condition, you may experience worsening symptoms during certain activities. Such activities include things such as grooming your pet or cleaning your house.
The best way to prevent allergic conjunctivitis is to stay away from allergen sources. An eye care specialist can help you identify the substances or allergens that are triggering your allergic reactions. This will help you take the appropriate steps to reduce or avoid contact with them. You can also take various environmental measures to reduce your contact with mold, pollen, and other allergens. Such measures include:
Avoid using attic or window fans
Always keep doors and windows closed, especially during days with high pollen counts
Stay away from the basement and other damp areas that may harbor molds
Minimize your outdoor exposure to allergens by spending most of your time indoors when such substances are at their peak, such as in the morning
Avoid raking leaves and mowing the lawn
Following any exposure to outdoor allergens, make sure to shampoo your hair and shower
Minimize your use of the dehumidifier to reduce the spread of allergens
Stay away from any furry animals
Frequently wash your beddings in very hot water and use a hot dryer to dry them. This will prevent the proliferation of dust mites. You should also use allergen-proof covers for your box springs, mattresses, and pillows
Avoid irritants such as chalk dust, perfume, tobacco smoke, and potpourri
Remove all stuffed animals from your kids’ reach, which, admittedly, can be difficult to accomplish
Stay away from drapery or curtains that may harbor dust
You can also take some additional preventative measures. For example, even if your eyes are feeling itchy, try not to rub them because it can exacerbate the allergic reaction.
Learn more about ocular allergies and how to prevent them, contact iCare Vision Center in Seattle, Washington at (206) 502-2800 to schedule an appointment today.