For patients whose allergies affect their eyes — those with dust, pollen, and pet allergies, for instance — the pain and irritation can feel like it’s never going to go away. Blinking a lot and rubbing your eyes just makes things worse, and even at-home remedies like cold compresses don’t provide lasting relief.
Thankfully, there are effective treatments available, and you can get them right here at Elite Vision Care. We don’t believe in blanket solutions; instead, we take a look at the symptoms right in front of us to assess your case, then provide a personally tailored plan to combat your allergy symptoms.
What Are Allergies?
An allergy is your body’s overreactive immune response to a substance it (incorrectly) deems threatening. It’s natural for your body to “fight” things it has decided are dangerous, but when you have an extreme reaction — redness, itching, swelling, or similar symptoms — to something benign, that indicates an allergy.
Allergies frequently cause an eye condition known as allergic conjunctivitis. That means that an allergen has come into contact with the eye’s conjunctiva (the thin lining on the surface of your eyes and inside of your eyelids). Your body deploys excessive histamine as an immune response, which makes your eyes become itchy, watery, inflamed, and red.
It’s natural to want to rub the eyes to relieve pain and irritation, but this only exacerbates the issue, and both the allergic reaction and excessive rubbing can damage the surface of the eye.
What Are Some Common Allergens?
Many allergens will only cause an issue if they get near the eye, such as bee stings, foods, and latex.
But unfortunately, many airborne allergens can irritate your eyes. Some are present year-round, including pet dander, dust, and mold. Others are seasonal: for example, ragweed is more of an autumnal allergy, while other types of pollen are more common in spring and summer.
Airborne allergens are significantly harder to avoid than static ones, making it even more important for patients with these allergies to have easy access to treatment.
Causes & Risk Factors
One common cause of allergies is genetics. An allergic reaction is the result of your body misinterpreting an allergen as something that requires an immune response. Research suggests that immune response is hereditary, meaning that if your parent has a ragweed allergy, there’s a higher chance you will too.
Environment can play a role in allergy development as well. For example, the presence of tobacco smoke during childhood development can increase the risk of allergies developing — even allergies completely unrelated to smoke or tobacco, such as food allergies.
Allergy Diagnosis & Treatment at Elite Vision Care
We diagnose allergies on an individual basis, focusing on exhibited symptoms, how severe those symptoms are, and what we’ve seen before in our years of experience. From there, we create custom solutions to treat your unique allergies.
Eye Drops & Artificial Tears
Because airborne allergens can easily get into your eyes, soothing eye drops made specifically for allergies are a key part of many treatment plans. These drops can flush allergens out of the eyelids, rehydrate the eye, and treat irritating symptoms. We choose specific drops for allergies that won’t cause unpleasant side effects like dry eye.
There are many effective antihistamines and steroids available in pill, drop, or spray form that can help stop many of the overreactive symptoms of allergies. Before prescribing any medication, we’ll discuss your symptoms, your history with allergies, and the treatments you’ve already tried, so that we can customize your solution. For example, we could offer a medicated eye drop regimen instead of oral pills.