Causes of Eye Allergies
Most allergies are caused by the over-reaction of your body’s immune system to an often innocuous substance or “allergen”. These allergens might include pollen, pet hair, mold spores, dust mites, perfumes, shampoos, or air pollutants. When your eyes come into contact with an allergen, your immune system produces histamine which then triggers an allergic response. This may result in watery eyes where the white part of your eye (conjunctiva) becomes pink, red and/or swollen.
Controlling Allergen Exposure
Being aware of what might trigger your eye allergy and taking preventative steps to limit exposure is good place to start. However, avoiding time outdoors, homes with pets, frequently changing bed linens to remove dust mites and removing all household mould might prove problematic!
Another way to manage eye allergies is to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, which can exacerbate symptoms. Washing your bed linens and pillow cases in hot water to destroy common allergens is also useful. Using over-the-counter antihistamine medications is another way to manage allergy symptoms. Antihistamines however, may reduce nasal symptoms but not necessarily those associated with red and itchy eyes! Antihistamines can also decrease tear quality and quantity, preventing your body from washing away allergens.
If you have any of these symptoms, please make an appointment to see one of our optometrists for check and to discuss your treatment options.
Call us on 02 9872 1555 or book online here.
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (2012). Eye allergy treatment.