What causes eye allergies?
Eye allergies often are hereditary, and can also occur due to an association with another type of allergic response. Many allergens in the air come into contact with our eyes and nose. Common airborne allergens can include pollen, mould, dust and pet dander.
When an allergic reaction takes place, your eyes may be overreacting to a matter thought as harmful, even though this may not be the case eg. pollen, which is harmless in itself, can cause excessive production of tears and mucus in eyes of an overly sensitive, allergic individual. Other causes of allergies, such as certain foods or bee stings, do not typically affect our eyes the way airborne allergens do, and similarly, adverse reactions to certain cosmetics or medicines such as antibiotic eye drops also may cause eye allergies.
Even cigarette smoke, some perfumes and diesel exhaust can act as an irritant to your eyes and cause non-allergic symptoms or they can worsen your allergic response.
Allergies can trigger other problems, especially individuals who are more susceptible to allergens, such as conjunctivitis (commonly known as pink eye) and asthma.
Common symptoms of allergies include:
• Red, swollen or itchy eyes
• Runny nose
• Sneezing and coughing
• Itchy nose, mouth or throat
Beyond more obvious symptoms, you also may feel tired and could suffer from lack of sleep.
How can we avoid eye allergies?
In most cases successful management of eye allergies is quite simple. Prevent or avoid what is causing your eye allergy.
• Keep your home free of pet dander and dust and keep pets off fabric furniture.
• Stay indoors when the pollen counts in the air are high – and keep the windows closed.
• Saline douches or a little Vaseline applied inside the nose will reduce symptoms.
• Avoid parks or fields, especially in the early evening when there is a lot of pollen floating in the air.
• Get someone else to mow the lawn and don’t lie on freshly cut grass.
• Wear wraparound sunglasses to help shelter your eyes from pollen, and drive with the windows closed