Eye Allergies

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Eye allergies are no different than allergies that affect your sinuses, nose or lungs. Eye allergies can cause red, itchy, burning, watery eyes and swollen eyelids. The most frequent allergic triggers are: pollen, pet hair or dander, dust, and some medicines.

Eye allergies, also called ocular-allergies or allergic conjunctivitis, affect one in five Americans. Though the symptoms can be very annoying, it poses little threat to eyesight other than temporary blurriness. But red, itchy, burning, puffy eyes can also be caused by infections and other conditions that do threaten eyesight.

When ocular allergies can’t be controlled, there are several medications that may help relieve symptoms. Most of these treatments come in topical form – such as eye drops or an ointment. Eye drops can help in two ways:

  1. By physically washing away allergens
  2. By moistening the eye, which can become dry and red when irritated.

Tips for controlling allergies:

  • Try to avoid being outside when pollen count is particularly high
  • Keep doors and windows shut to keep pollen out
  • Use air filters indoors
  • Vacuum regularly
  • Try not to rub your eyes – this can make irritation worse and increase risk of infection
  • Over the counter medicines such as antihistamines, nasal sprays and eye drops can help
  • If your allergies are severe consult your physician

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