People with allergies experience symptoms such as sniffling, nasal congestion, and sneezing. However, allergies also affect the eyes, leaving them itchy, red, burning, watery, or swollen. Some remedies can help soothe eye allergies.
Some medications that help with nasal allergies also provide relief for eye allergies. So, what do you do if over-the-counter medication is not working for ocular allergies?
Eye or ocular allergies are also known as allergic conjunctivitis. While they do not pose much threat to vision, allergies can cause extreme discomfort and symptoms such as blurriness. Ocular allergies usually come and go depending on the environment and other conditions.
However, it is vital to know that infections and other eye conditions can present the same symptoms as allergies. Visit a doctor if your symptoms fail to improve after using medication. Allergies can either be seasonal (occurring in certain months) or perennial (all year round).
Allergies occur when the body overreacts to substances known as allergens. The immune system produces antibodies that cause the release of histamine and other active substances to fight the otherwise harmless substances.
The blood vessels expand or dilate, irritating the nerve endings and causing red, itchy, and watery eyes. Common allergens include pollen, dust mites, mold, eye drops, animal fur, and makeup. Many people have both ocular and nasal allergies.
Most people get allergies in both eyes. Symptoms usually appear quickly after contact with the allergen. They include:
Red or pink eyes
Soreness or burning sensation
People who suffer from seasonal allergies experience symptoms during certain seasons or months of the year.
Most people use over-the-counter medication to find relief from allergy symptoms. The majority of these allergy medications offer short-term relief. Some medications include decongestants that help reduce eye redness, but the effect is usually short-lived.
Nasal steroid sprays can help with both nasal and ocular symptoms. Oral antihistamines can provide some relief. Eye lubricants and sterile saline rinses can help flush out allergens and soothe the eyes.
If OTC medications do not provide relief, it is necessary to visit an eye doctor. The doctor can prescribe eyedrops or oral medications that can help. Some prescription medications can provide some long-term relief. For severe cases, the doctor can prescribe allergy shots or immunotherapy. If you suffer from allergies, you should avoid wearing contact lenses.
There are things that you can do to find allergy relief. They include:
Avoiding allergy triggers
Using artificial tears
Staying indoors when the pollen count is high
Wearing sunglasses when outdoors
Keeping your bedding and surroundings clean will help limit your exposure to dust mites
Keeping pets out of your bedroom
Use a cool compress and avoid rubbing your eyes
Complications from ocular allergies are rare and do not have long-term effects on health. However, they can affect your quality of life. In some rare cases, the cornea can become inflamed, increasing the risk of scarring or vision loss.
For more on over-the-counter medications for ocular allergies and other treatment options, contact Westchester Eyes & Aesthetics at our Yonkers, New York office. Call 914-586-EYES (3937) to schedule an appointment today.