When allergies hit, they can have a serious negative impact on your quality of life. Most individuals seek treatments for nasal congestion, runny noses, sneezing, and other allergy symptoms. However, some are less likely to seek help for red, itchy, irritated eyes.
At Peña Eye Institute in McAllen, TX, we offer a wide range of vision correction procedures. We also value patient education, and therefore believe that the more patients understand about the conditions they have, the better their outcome will be.
Today, our team will offer an overview of eye allergy treatment, along with common causes and home remedies.
What Causes Eye Allergies?
Allergies occur when the body overreacts to something. This is true for eye allergies as well as all other kinds of allergies. When your body detects something foreign, it begins to make antibodies. As a result, histamine is released, which can lead to red, itchy, watery eyes.
Types of Eye Allergies
There are two primary types of eye allergies. These include:
- Seasonal allergies: The most common type of eye allergy, seasonal allergies occur during specific times of the year. Allergies can be triggered by certain irritants in the air, such as pollen and spores.
- Perennial allergies: Some eye allergies can occur year-round. Examples of perennial allergens include feather bedding, dust mites, and pet dander. Things such as smoke, chlorine, air pollution, cosmetics, perfume, and other substances can trigger eye allergies as well.
In many instances, it can be quite clear what is causing eye allergies. For example, if your eyes always become red and watery when a cat is around, it is a good indication you are allergic to cat dander. However, sometimes the trigger is not as clear. In these cases, allergy testing can be performed to determine the exact cause.
Eye Allergy Treatments
When eye allergies surface, there are plenty of ways to reduce your symptoms and alleviate discomfort. In the sections below, we will discuss how to reduce allergens in your home and when to seek professional treatment.
Things You Can Do at Home
When it comes to prevention, the best thing to do is avoid your triggers at all costs. If you are sensitive to pollen, stay indoors whenever the pollen counts are high, which is typically in the mid-morning and early evening. Always use the air conditioner and avoid open windows and fans, as this can draw pollen into the house.
When you do have to leave the house, wear large sunglasses to block allergens from the eyes. If you are driving, leave the windows up and crank the air conditioner.
To avoid your triggers, you can also:
- Use hypoallergenic pillowcases to limit exposure to dust mites
- Wash your bed linens in hot water on a regular basis
- Clean your floors with a damp mop
- Choose blinds over curtains
- Replace carpeting or rugs with tile, linoleum, or hardwood floors
- Keep the humidity inside your home under 50 percent
- Keep your pet out of your bedroom
- Use a cold compress to address irritation, and avoid rubbing your eyes
When it comes to allergy eye drops, there are several options. Sterile saline rinses and lubricants can flush out irritants and soothe the eyes. If redness is a primary issue, decongestant eye drops can help. However, these should not be used long-term.
Eye drops with ketotifen can ease uncomfortable allergy symptoms for up to 12 hours. If you use eye drops to address your allergies, they may provide even greater soothing relief if you store them in the refrigerator.
If you need more than eye drops, over-the-counter allergy medication can be beneficial. If symptoms still occur, then your doctor can help you determine the appropriate course of action.
Learn More about Eye Allergy Treatment
If you suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies, we can help. To schedule a consultation at our practice, call us at (956) 611-8733 or contact us online anytime.