Preventing and Treating Eye Allergies

Preventing and Treating Eye Allergies

Preventing and Treating Eye Allergies

Lots of people suffer from allergies. Some people find that it is their eyes that are most affected by their allergies. This is sometimes known as allergic conjunctivitis and occurs when a usually harmless substance comes into contact with the eyes, but the body perceives the substance to be harmful and sets off defenses, called histamines, against it. It is these histamines that are responsible for the symptoms that we associated with having an allergic reaction. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of eye allergies and to treat them if they do occur. Here’s what you need to know.


What causes eye allergies?

Eye allergies can be caused by a range of different substances. Some are more common than others. Some of the most regular triggers of eye allergies include:


  • Dust
  • Pollen (all varieties)
  • Mold
  • Animal dander (fur)
  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Smoke from tobacco or bonfire
  • Cosmetics


Since the best prevention is to avoid the trigger of your eye allergy, it is important that you work with your eye doctor to try and discover the substance that your body is reacting to. This puts you in a much stronger position to avoid it in the future. For example, if you know that your eye allergies are caused by cat dander, you can take steps to avoid getting near cats in the future. Similarly, if your allergy is to dust, you could use protective eyewear when dusting your home to minimize the risk of particles getting into the air and your eyes.


Preventing and treating eye allergies

It’s not always possible to completely avoid the allergen that triggers your allergies. Fortunately, there are many other things that you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing eye allergies too.


Wash your hands regularly. Good hand hygiene is essential all the time to avoid viruses and other harmful microorganisms but washing your hands regularly can also reduce the likelihood that you will transfer allergens from your hands to your face and eyes.


Don’t touch your eyes. Do you wash your hands every time you touch your eyes? Most of us do this if we are putting in and removing contact lenses, but we can also subconsciously touch our eyes at other times during the day and if we have picked up harmful bacteria or allergens on our fingers, we can transfer these to our eyes if we touch them. This increases our risk of developing viruses as well as eye allergies. We recommend you avoid touching your eyes at all unless you absolutely have to.


Use artificial tears. As you may have guessed, artificial tears are a special solution designed to replicate our own natural tear film. By increasing the level of the tear film on the surface of our eyes, we can potentially flush out many of the allergens that are causing our allergic reaction. There are lots of different types of artificial tears, so make sure you follow the administration instructions with the variety you choose.


Ask your eye doctor about antihistamines. Antihistamines are the primary treatment for any allergy, and they work by controlling the release of histamines, which helps to minimize the allergic reaction that affects the patient experiences. Antihistamines are available in various forms, including eye drops and pills that are swallowed orally. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you which is the best antihistamine is best for you based on your medical history.


Steroid medications can help if other methods are unsuccessful.  Steroids are a fairly strong drug and should never be taken long-term or without the appropriate medical supervision. However, studies have found that they can be useful in reducing the symptoms of allergies, provided that they are taken short-term, and the patient is closely monitored. Be sure to follow the instructions provided by your eye doctor.  


Eye allergies can be frustrating and debilitating, but you don’t have to live with their effects. Speak to our eye care experts today about how we can help. Call or visit West Texas Eye Care in Pecos and Fort Stockton, Texas to schedule an appointment today. 

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