asthma-immune-92148844-resized-56a045f95f9b58eba4afa011Often passed down from family members, eye allergies occur for a myriad of reasons. When an allergic eye reaction takes place, it’s simply your eye’s way of letting you know that they’re sensing something they think to be harmful, even if it isn’t. Substances that cause this type of response are known as allergens.
Additionally, allergy eyes can generate other problems, such as conjunctivitis (AKA pink eye) and asthma. A condition known as rhinoconjunctivitis occurs when both nasal and eye allergies combine.
About 30%-50% of all U.S. residents have some type of allergy symptom, and about 75% of those symptoms affect the eyes (
Your eyes are one of the most sensitive and vulnerable organs you have. Ocular allergies, or allergies in the eye, are no different than allergies that affect your sinuses, nose or lungs.
Eye allergies happen when airborne allergens and other particles (i.e., dust) land directly on the surface of your eye, causing irritation and redness. Then, your body overreacts to the substance and floods the eyes with tears and mucus.

The Allergic Response
When harmless pollen an allergen is incorrectly perceived by your immune system to be something dangerous, your system overacts. Depending on your genetic response, your body will react to some allergens, and less or not at all to others.
Most people will experience itchy eyes. It is the most common symptom of allergy eyes. It can affect both of your eyes or sometimes, one eye may be more intensely affected than the other.
When an allergen comes into contact with your eyes, your body releases histamines ― a chemical produced in reaction to a substance that the immune system can’t tolerate. Special cells called mast cells make histamines. These cells are present throughout the body, but are highly concentrated in the eyes. This leads to itching, redness, and watery eyes.

Symptoms of Eye Allergies:
Itchy Eyes
Red Eyes
Swelling and puffiness of the eyelids
The feeling as if something is caught in your eye
Burning Eyes
Watery eyes
Location of allergy symptoms depends somewhat on where the allergen has come into contact with your body.

Allergy Eye Causes
Eye allergies often affect the conjunctiva, a thin transparent membrane overlying the eyes. This is the same type of membrane that lines the inside surface of the nose. Because the eyes are open, exposed organs, debris and other irritants from the air can land in and around both eyes and eyelids.

Seasonal Allergies
With seasonal allergies, your symptoms are generally limited to a particular period of time or season (i.e., spring, summer, fall). You may be bothered in the spring by tree pollen, in the summer by grass pollen, or in the fall by weed pollen. Generally, your symptoms resolve during other times of the year, especially in the winter.

The Most Frequent Airborne Allergens Include:
Animal hair
Pet dander

There Are Also Other Eye Irritants, Such As:
Cigarette smoke
Diesel exhaust


Don’t Rub!
Rubbing itchy eyes is a natural response. However, rubbing usually worsens the allergic reaction due to the physical impact on the mast cells, which causes them to release more mediators. Translation: Do not rub your eyes! Instead, wash your eyelids and lashes when they are bothersome, since allergens can get caught in eyelashes and be pushed into eyes.
Eye Allergy Management
Aside from using allergy eye drops such as VISINE®-A® eye drops, there are a number of ways you can manage your allergies and keep symptoms at bay.

Indoor Tips:
Clean regularly to remove allergies like dust, mold and pet dander.
Keep windows and doors closed to keep allergens out.
Run air conditioners and air filters to sift out allergens.
Clean and change the air filters in both furnaces and air conditioners to keep indoor air fresh and allergen-free.
Use allergy-proof covers on pillows, mattresses and other bedding to keep dust mites away.
Minimize carpeting that retains dust mites.
Minimize clutter to reduce allergens.

Outdoor Tips:
Check the pollen count each day before heading outdoors. Usually, counts are highest between 5AM and 10AM.
Shower after being active outdoors. This will remove allergens that might have stuck to you.
Use a sterile saline eyewash or soothing wipe to clean your eyes before using an over-the-counter eye drop that relieves redness and acts as an effective antihistamine.
Avoid hanging laundry outdoors, as allergens can stick to your clothes.
Wear glasses when going outdoors to help shield your eyes from allergens.
Choose a daily disposable contact lens, if you wear them, to minimize allergen accumulation.
Make sure you’re aware of your other allergy symptoms so you can treat them. Often, a fast-acting oral antihistamine can help you combat allergies from the inside out.



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