When most of us think of allergies, an itchy, runny nose comes to mind first. But allergies do not only affect the nasal and sinus cavities. These pesky conditions can invade the eyes as well, leading to symptoms like itchy, watery eyes that can become red and swollen.
The good news is that just like nasal allergies, eye allergies can be effectively treated with over the counter and prescription medications. It can also be helpful to follow the principles of prevention when it comes to eye allergies. But before we discuss how to treat them, it is important to understand why they occur.
When you consider the cause of eye allergies, it is actually not surprising at all to realize how many people might suffer from allergy symptoms in this part of their bodies. Our eyes are exposed to our environment and its allergens every day. And unlike the nasal passages, there is no means to protect the eyes from many of these harmful substances. While the nose contains cilia, which are tiny hairs that filter out many of the environmental particles, the eyes have no such built in protection system. This leaves our eyes vulnerable to the effects of our environment and the allergens within it.
It is thought that of all of the people who suffer from allergies of one type or another, nearly half of these folks will also suffer from eye allergies. This means that if you experience seasonal allergy symptoms, you have a higher chance of having eye allergies as well. You might also have an increased risk of allergies to this area if you have atopic dermatitis or a family history of allergies. The good news is that there are options for treating eye allergies, so that you can find comfort once again.
In many cases, the best way to treat eye allergies is through prevention. This means avoidance of known triggers. It also includes not touching or rubbing your eyes, especially if your hands have been in contact with an allergen. Rubbing can also bring on an allergic reaction in some people. If prevention and avoidance of your allergy triggers is not sufficient to bring relief from your itchy, watery eyes, there are medications available as well. Some are found over the counter and others are prescribed by your doctor. Most of these medicines are allergy eye drops that can be used once or twice each day.
Eye allergies can be difficult to cope with, but there are ways to reduce and even eliminate uncomfortable eye allergy symptoms. Talk to your doctor today about the best choices in allergy treatments for you.