What Are the Causes of Eye Allergies and What Actions to Take?



Allergies are caused when substances that are generally harmless provoke the immune system and it recognizes in them a potential danger. Similar to obesity, allergies are becoming more common today as industrialization increases.

Since allergy is a hypersensitivity of the body as a whole, if people with skin allergies encounter the allergen, other tissues may react to it.

The allergic reaction in the eyes is expressed as conjunctivitis, and it may affect the cornea. The usual bacterial conjunctivitis is characterized by redness, irritation and secretions, while with the allergic one, in addition to redness, there is also itching and tearing, which may be to varying degrees.

What are the possible causes of eye allergies?

Usually, the eyes’ sensitivity and their vulnerability to allergens in the air and other irritating particles increase in the spring. This is the season of many colors and fragrances but also of irritating agents. Others agents whose source is not necessarily nature and are year-round irritants can also be included.

Examples of common causes of allergic conjunctivitis include:

  • pollen;
  • spores from trees, shrubs, and grasses;
  • household dust;
  • pet hair;
  • mold;
  • beauty products;
  • medicines;
  • aggressive chemicals;
  • contact lenses, etc.

What types of allergic conjunctivitis are there?

Nearly 20% of people can be affected by eye allergies. The following variants belong to the types of allergic conjunctivitis:

●       Seasonal

It occurs in different seasons, depending on the allergen, most often in the spring. In some people, its symptoms are redness of the eyes, itching, swelling, hay fever.

●       Vernal

It mainly affects children aged 9 to 17, mostly boys. It is also characterized by itching and redness, tearing, and light sensitivity. If the cornea is affected, complications occur.

●       Atopic

It is more common in people aged 30-50, and in some, it is accompanied by asthma or eczema. In addition to the usual tearing and irritation, eyelid swelling and loss of eyelashes may occur. It may also affect the cornea.

●       Giant papillary conjunctivitis

This type of conjunctivitis is considered a complication due to the use of contact lenses, which can provoke an allergy to their material or to preservatives in the solution. In addition to the usual symptoms, there is a growth of giant papillae inside the eyelids.

The therapy used to control allergic conjunctivitis is not the same as that for infectious conjunctivitis, and any delay in treatment can complicate the condition.

What actions are taken in case of an eye allergy?

The treatment of allergic conjunctivitis is carried out mainly in the following areas:

  • Removing / avoiding allergens, which is not always possible;
  • Stimulating the body’s defenses;
  • Suppressing the chemicals that are responsible for the allergic reaction.

Non-pharmacological and pharmacological agents may be used to treat ocular allergy.

Non-pharmacological agents

To protect yourself from allergic eye disease and to positively affect an existing one, it is recommended that you avoid rubbing your eyes with your hands. This worsens the condition, leads to additional blood filling and dilation of blood vessels, as well as additional tissue trauma.

Avoid also contact with old pillowcases and duvets, staying in unventilated, damp or old rooms, as well as outdoors during periods of heavy pollen in lawns.

Pharmacological agents

Treatment with these drugs is carried out by an allergist in conjunction with an ophthalmologist. Necessary preliminary examinations are performed in order to make an accurate diagnosis and to apply successful treatment.

Among the groups of drugs, the first choice are usually antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, corticosteroids, and others. Artificial tears can also be used together with them, which, especially if cooled, reduce the concentration of the allergen and the number of inflammatory mediators.

Preventive actions are important to minimize the occurrence of eye allergies. With timely consultation with an ophthalmologist, maintaining good hygiene, as well as with adequate changes in behavior, it is possible to achieve optimal results in the fight against eye allergies.

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