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Itchy Eyes? Is it Eye Allergies?

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Summer Allergy Eye Relief from Your Eye Doctor

Stinging or burning, tearing, redness, swelling, or itchiness – the particular eye symptom doesn’t matter; all of these sensations can point to allergic conjunctivitis. And at the end of the day, eye irritation caused by allergies gets in the way of your comfortable vision.

Spot the Signs of Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis affects millions of people in America, and seasonal triggers are often to blame. During the warmer months of spring and summer, eye allergies typically flare up and cause the most discomfort. That’s because many airborne allergens, such as pollen, are released by plants when the weather heats up. If you have an allergy to pollen, exposure to it will lead your body to produce histamine and other inflammatory compounds. The most common symptoms include:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Tearing
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Foreign body sensation in your eye
  • Red eyes
  • Puffy eyes and eyelids
  • Blurry vision
  • Discomfort when wearing contact lenses

How to Get Eye Allergy Relief

Tip #1:  Do not rub your eyes! 

Rubbing your red and itchy eyes is a surefire way to make your symptoms worse! It will trigger the release of more inflammatory chemicals as well as spread troublesome allergens from your fingers to your eye area. Wash your hands frequently to minimize introducing dirt or other irritants into your sensitive eyes.

Tip #2:  Avoid eye makeup and contact lenses

Eye makeup can irritate eyelids and contacts can exacerbate eye irritation. Instead of trying to mask your puffy, red eyes with makeup, apply cold compresses over the ocular area to help relieve symptoms. If you have dark circles under your eyes and are extremely self-conscious, choose a yellowish tinged concealer to minimize the appearance of blue circles or an orange-peach hue to cover brown circles.

Tip #3:  Avoid outdoor seasonal allergy triggers

During the hot months, pollen from trees, grass, flowers, and weeks are typical eye allergy triggers. Monitor pollen counts in The Woodlands, and when they are high our eye doctors recommend staying indoors as much as possible. Close your windows and run the a/c instead; do not use window fans, and consider investing in an air filter. In general, pollen counts are highest in the early evening and mid-morning hours, when the winds are most forceful.

Tip #4:  Visit your eye doctor for an eye exam

Is it eye allergies? The only way to know for sure is by booking an eye exam. Our optometrist in The Woodlands will examine your eyes to diagnose the source of your itchy eyes, red eyes, swollen eyelids, and other irritation. A number of other conditions can cause the same symptoms, so a professional diagnosis is key to ensuring that you receive the most effective, helpful treatment. If you are diagnosed with eye allergies, we will recommend a variety of therapies to alleviate your pain.

Eye Allergy Relief – Treatments

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Many over-the-counter eye drops are available that contain ingredients similar to those that treat nasal allergies. For example, antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers block the release of histamine, which leads to itchy eyes. Artificial tears for dry eye syndrome help to moisten the eye surface and rinse away allergens. Check with your eye doctor before trying any of these OTC products, as they are not all appropriate or safe for all individuals. When self-help treatments don’t do the trick, your eye doctor can prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops and steroids. Specific medications that are typically advised for other types of allergies may also assist in controlling the symptoms of eye allergies. Schedule an eye exam to identify the best therapy to restore your comfortable sight.

Be Prepared! Don’t Wait for Eye Allergy Symptoms to Appear

As soon as the days switch from cool to warm, it’s a good idea to safeguard your eyes against allergens. Don’t wait for that first morning you wake up with red eyes and itchy eyes; start shutting your windows and turning on indoor fans, HEPA filters, and air conditioning before you suffer from eye irritation. Prevention goes far towards keeping your eyes comfortable and your vision clear.

Get Ready for Winter

Also, don’t be fooled into thinking that the end of summer and autumn brings an end to eye irritation. While the incidence of season allergies may be lower in the colder season, indoor allergens are still a problem. When your windows and doors are always shut tight to hold in the heat, inadequate ventilation can lead to the proliferation of mold and dust mites – which are both strong allergic triggers. Protect against mold by keeping your indoor humidity between 30 and 50%. Clean and empty the water pans and filters of your humidifiers regularly. Blustery winds in the winter may not jumpstart the histamine reaction of eye allergies, yet they remove moisture from your eyes – which can also cause red and itchy eyes. Stock your medicine cabinet with artificial tears eye drops to restore lubrication to your eyes. Wearing eyeglasses instead of contact lenses during the winter may also be beneficial.

Design an Allergy Plan

The best way to prevent suffering from eye irritation is to head it off before it starts. Be aware of your personal allergy triggers and do your best to steer clear. For more tips, a reliable diagnosis,  and effective eye allergy relief, visit our eye doctors at Eye Trends, in The Woodlands.

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