According to a survey performed by the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA), spring time is when eye allergies are worst. One in five Americans report being affected by uncomfortable eye allergy symptoms including itching, watering, and irritation. Eye allergies are also known as “allergic conjunctivitis” because it refers to an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue within the eyelid responsible for maintaining moisture.
Most commonly, eye allergies are caused by seasonal allergens such as pollen or mold spores. However, irritants, such as dirt, smoke, and chlorine, can also irritate eyes as well. Allergic conjunctivitis caused by allergens is not contagious. However, conjunctivitis caused by bacteria or viruses, such as “pink eye,” is highly contagious but can be easily treated if diagnosed promptly. Common symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include redness in the whites of the eye, increased tear production, itchy eyes, inflammation of the eyelid, and blurred vision. Consult your eye doctor if these symptoms persist.
But there is hope for eye allergy sufferers! Small measures such as cold compresses or washing bed linens can help reduce eye allergens and allergy symptoms. Contact wearers may find relief in swapping their contact lenses for eyeglasses during periods of high pollen count or by cleaning lenses especially well as contacts may often serve as a vehicle for allergens or irritants. Over-the-counter eyes drops can help with symptomatic itching or burning while prescription eye drops may significantly decrease eye allergy symptoms when appropriate. Diagnosis is the first step in achieving eye allergy relief! Consult your eye doctor for the right treatment options for you!