Eye symptoms commonly develop when you have seasonal allergies, but eye allergies are a distinct problem that exists separately from other allergies. Eye allergies, or allergic conjunctivitis, develop the same way as other allergies -- from an overactive immune system.
When your immune system overreacts to something in your environment, it creates antibodies to that substance -- the allergen. Every time you encounter the allergen, antibodies trigger a reaction that irritates your eyes.
An eye allergy can develop in response to preservatives in eye drops and irritation from contact lenses, but the most common causes are dust mites, mold, pet dander, cigarette smoke, and pollen from trees, grass, or ragweed.
Virtually everyone with an eye allergy shares one common symptom -- itchy eyes -- but you may experience any or all of these symptoms:
If over-the-counter eye medication don’t provide the relief you need, it’s a good idea to get an eye exam. More importantly, an exam can protect your eyes because the symptoms caused by an eye allergy are the same as those associated with other eye problems that may be serious and affect your vision.
Your doctor at Mollick Professional Center can determine whether you have allergies or another eye condition, and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
Like all allergies, the first step is to identify your specific allergens. The doctors at Mollick Professional Center perform patch testing to determine which substances affect your eyes.
Your treatment plan depends on your allergens and the severity of your symptoms. You may need one or more of the following treatment options:
Minimize your exposure to allergens by keeping windows closed when pollen is high, using air conditioning, washing your hands after petting a furry animal, and/or wearing glasses to keep pollen out of your eyes, to name just a few possible steps.
Your doctor at Mollick Professional Center can prescribe a variety of medications, including decongestant eye drops, antihistamine eye drops, and non-sedating oral antihistamines that provide more effective relief than over-the-counter products.
Immunotherapy consists of a series of allergy shots or tablets that dissolve under your tongue. Each treatment gradually introduces a small amount of allergen into your system. Over time, you become desensitized and stop having allergic reactions.