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World Allergy Week: The Effect of Allergies on Your Eyes

April 1, 2018

April 22-28, 2018 is World Allergy Week, sponsored by the World Allergy Organization. If you suffer from allergies, you know the pain that spring can bring: the sniffles, the sneezing, the itchy and dry eyes. Symptoms can range from being a mild inconvenience to being downright unbearable.

There are allergens everywhere during the season, so what does that mean for your eyes?

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis, also known as eye allergies, affects millions of Americans. If your eyes are red, burning, itching, sensitive to light, puffy, blurry, swollen, and/or tearing up, chances are you’re suffering from allergies. When the eyes react to an irritant or allergen, they produce histamine to fight it off, which results in the uncomfortable allergy symptoms you experience. In the springtime, allergens are everywhere: pollen, mold, and even pet hair and dander from shedding are all more prevalent in the spring. For those with hay fever, this season can be an especially trying time.

Atopic Dermatitis

This year, World Allergy Week is raising awareness about atopic dermatitis. This skin condition affects many people worldwide, and typically starts in infancy or childhood. While this type of eczema primarily affects the skin, it can affect the eyes as well. Atopic dermatitis can result in allergic hypersensitivity that can amplify the symptoms of eye allergies. Those with atopic dermatitis should be especially careful during allergy season.

Tips for Reducing Allergy Symptoms

When your eyes are itchy, it’s tempting to rub them. Don’t! Regardless of how uncomfortable your eyes are, rubbing them will only make the symptoms worse and release more inflammatory chemicals. If you wear makeup, try to refrain from wearing any that will further irritate your eyes. Similarly, if you wear contacts, take some time off and wear your glasses instead. Washing your hands regularly can help to prevent additional allergens from getting into your eyes as well.

If your symptoms are especially troublesome in the spring and summer, seasonal irritants, such as pollen, are likely the cause. Check the pollen counts on the weather channel and avoid going out if they’re high. Closing your windows and running the AC can help to filter the air in your home and prevent particles from getting in. Sunglasses aren’t just for the sun, either: when you’re outside, sunglasses can help to protect your eyes from allergens.

Have questions about your symptoms? Schedule an appointment at Texarkana Eye Associates and we’ll be happy to discuss and help with your allergy symptoms.