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Home » What's New » What Are Eye Allergies?

What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye Doctor & Optical Store Near You

Eye Doctor in Flagstaff, AZ

Eye allergies, also called “allergic conjunctivitis,” are the eyes’ response to environmental irritants and allergens. Their symptoms range in severity from uncomfortable to debilitating but fortunately are often treatable. If you suspect you have eye allergies, speak with Dr. Grimh about finding lasting relief.

Understanding Eye Allergies

What Causes Eye Allergies?

Allergies occur when the immune system becomes hypersensitized to certain allergens — otherwise harmless substances, such as pollen or dust mites. When allergens are introduced to the body, histamines are released in the blood-stream, causing inflammation and swelling.

Some airborne allergens that can cause eye allergies include:

  • Mold
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen

Non-airborne allergens include:

  • Makeup
  • Perfume
  • Skincare products
  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Contact lens solutions
  • Preservatives in multi-use eye drops

Symptoms of Eye Allergies

When the blood vessels in the eyes are affected during an allergic reaction, the following symptoms can arise:

  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy or irritated eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Burning or painful eyes

How Are Eye Allergies Treated?

There are several approaches to treating eye allergies and Dr. Grimh can help determine which options best suit your symptoms.

Limit Allergen Exposure

One of the best ways to reduce allergy flare-ups is to avoid allergens altogether or at least reduce exposure to them. If pollen causes your eyes to become red and itchy, try driving with the windows closed and limit your time outdoors. Additionally, wearing wrap-around glasses can shield your eyes from irritants and possibly allergens.

Take Antihistamines or Decongestants

Histamine is what gets released in the bloodstream and causes the allergic response. Antihistamines work by blocking the attachment of histamine to the body’s cells that produce the allergic reaction, thus reducing or eliminating symptoms.

Decongestants can help you breathe easier by shrinking swollen nasal pathways that may have become inflamed due to allergies. Decongestants can also shrink the blood vessels in the whites of the eyes (sclera), relieving red eyes.

Try Eye Drops

Over-the-counter lubricating and antihistamine eye drops can help soothe red, itchy, and irritated eyes. Dr. Grimh can recommend the brand and type that will offer the best relief, or prescribe more potent eye drops than the ones available at your local drugstore.

Aside from soothing irritated eyes, lubricating eye drops and artificial tears can help flush the eye of allergens and remove any foreign substances.

Temporarily Remove Your Contact Lenses

Allergens can accumulate on the surface of contact lenses, which makes it difficult to get rid of symptoms while wearing lenses.  If you suffer from eye allergies, try temporarily switching to glasses and see if your symptoms persist. Typically, the best contact lenses for those with eye allergies are daily disposables, which are discarded daily.

Visit Your Eye Doctor

An eye exam with Dr. Grimh is the best way to rule out other possible eye conditions and determine the root cause of your symptoms. If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above and suspect you have eye allergies, don’t hesitate to call Eye Care Associates today to schedule your eye exam.

Call Eye Care Associates today to make an appointment: 928-774-7949 or alternatively you can book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT

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Protecting our Patients from Coronavirus

We appreciate your patience as we continue to follow the recommendation of the CDC and the American Optometric Association to reduce our services to urgent/emergency eye care only. We understand this is necessary to help keep our staff and community safe from the COVID-19 virus but realize the inconvenience it may cause as well.

Our office staff will be available M-F from 8:00am – 12:00pm to schedule appointments, answer questions, take payments, order contacts and triage for emergencies.

One of our doctors will be available during these hours for urgent/emergency eye care for both new and current patients. If you need urgent/emergency eye care after hours you can call our office at 928-774-7949 and listen for instructions.

We are offering to extend contact lens prescriptions for those who are forced to reschedule your current appointments. Call our office to place your order. If you have glasses or contact lenses currently on order we will be contacting you soon to make arrangements to get those out to you.

We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause, if you have any questions feel free to give us a call M-F 8:00am-12:00pm.

Sincerely,

Eye Care Associates