The Basics of Eye Allergies For Colorado Residents
Eye allergies are very uncomfortable and may even keep you away from the things you love, like nature walks during summer, campfires to end a late summer night or even from hanging out with a cute pup or kitten. Knowing the basics about eye allergies is the first step to relieving the discomfort they cause.
Here’s what you should know:
First of all, you have to make sure what you’re experiencing is actually allergies and not an infection or cut. Symptoms of eye allergies usually accompany other symptoms of allergies such as sneezing, sniffling, or a runny nose, but they sometimes can occur on their own. Whether on their own or not, these are the symptoms to look for when identifying your eye irritation as allergies.
- Watery discharge similar to tears, but slightly thicker
- Slight swelling or puffiness
These symptoms occur when someone has seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), which is usually associated with seasonal allergies related to pollen and the eye irritation usually occurs with the other seasonal allergy symptoms, or perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC), which occurs year round due to allergies to dust mites, mold, pet dander, or other household allergies. So an easier way of thinking about it is that SAC is triggered from outside allergies and PAC is triggered from inside allergies. There are many other allergy types that irritate the eye other than SAC or PAC, so if these symptoms don’t seem to describe what you’re experiencing please schedule an eye allergy assessment appointment with us today!
The triggers of allergies and itchy eyes can come from any of these sources:
- Outdoor allergens, such as different types of pollens from different plants
- Indoor allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, and mold
- Irritants, such as smoke emitted from fires or cigarettes, perfumes, or diesel exhaust
Depending on what type of triggers your eyes react to, there are different steps to take in preventing reactions, obviously, but the overall purpose is the same, which is to keep exposure to allergens at a minimum.
- For outdoor seasonal allergies, keep windows and doors shut during seasons where allergens are most prominent and use AC in your car and home
- For indoor allergies, consider purchasing mite-proof mattress covers and a dehumidifier to reduce mold growth, and always wash hands after petting pets with dandruff
- For irritants, simply avoid them if possible
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, consider using over the counter treatments or talk to your eye doctor about getting a prescription. Over the counter treatments we recommend are artificial tears, decongestant eye drops, and oral antihistamines. Prescription treatments that a doctor would prescribe include eye drops of different sorts, allergy shots, and non-sedating oral antihistamines.