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What are eye allergies?

An eye allergy causes swelling and redness in the eyes resulting from an inflammation caused by exposure to allergy-causing substances such as dust, pollen, mould, etc. These are called allergens. Eye allergies are also associated with asthma, hay fever, allergic skin conditions (such as eczema, etc.), etc. Eye allergies are common in children and teenagers.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

Eye allergies occur due to release of a chemical called histamine in the blood in response to contact with allergens. The symptoms may last for long or reoccur with changes in weather and are non-contagious.

What are its main causes?

Exposure of eyes to the allergens leads to an immune reaction in order to get rid of the allergens. Different types of allergens include

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Air pollution, smoke, etc.
  • Pet fur, dander, etc.
  • Fungus or moulds
  • Strong smelling perfumes, paints, etc.
  • Food preservatives
  • Insect Bites
  • In rare cases, loss of vision might be associated with a severe form of eye allergy called vernal conjunctivitis, especially in children.

How are eye allergies diagnosed and treated?

Doctors diagnose eye allergies on the basis of following parameters

  • History of symptoms 
  • Examination of eyes using a slit lamp
  • IgE levels in the blood
  • Allergy skin test
  • Examination of the eye discharge sample under the microscope to detect white blood cells in the discharge

Treatment of eye allergies consist of:

  • Self-care measures
    • Avoid exposure to the allergen.
    • Avoid rubbing the eyes.
    • Avoid using contact lenses when the eye is red and itchy.
    • Use sunglasses in airy weather to prevent contact with the pollen.
    • Avoid humidity inside the house as it favours the growth of fungus.
    • Avoid getting exposed to pollution, dust, smoke, etc.
    • Clean the beddings regularly to prevent eye allergies due to mites’
    • Avoid close contact with pets.
    • Wash the eyes immediately in case of allergic reaction to clear away the allergen.
  • Medicines that aregenerally advised by your doctor to treat an eye allergy
    • Anti-histamines in the form of tablets and eye drops help in reducing itching and irritation in the eyes
    • Mast cell stabilizer medicines are used to stop the inflammation in eye allergies.
    • Decongestant eye drops help in reducing redness and swelling in the eyes.
    • Artificial tears eye drops help in keeping the eyes moist and wash away the allergens from the eyes.
    • Corticosteroid eye drops help in controlling severe inflammation.
    • Immunotherapy injections help in building up the immunity against a specific allergen and subsequently preventing eye allergies.
  1. Medicines for Eye Allergies
  2. Doctors for Eye Allergies
Dr. Meenakshi Pande

Dr. Meenakshi Pande

Ophthalmology
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Akshay Bhatiwal

Dr. Akshay Bhatiwal

Ophthalmology
1 Years of Experience

Dr. Surbhi Thakare

Dr. Surbhi Thakare

Ophthalmology
2 Years of Experience

Dr. Ashish Amar

Dr. Ashish Amar

Ophthalmology
14 Years of Experience

References

  1. British Medical Journal. Allergic eye disease. BMJ Publishing Group. [internet].
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Allergic conjunctivitis
  3. American academy of ophthalmology. What Are Eye Allergies?. California, United States. [internet].
  4. Center for Disease Control and Prevention [internet], Atlanta (GA): US Department of Health and Human Services; Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Vernal conjunctivitis

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