For many of us, changing seasons bring eye issues, but what causes allergies in eyes? Eye allergies can affect the conjunctiva, which is a clear layer of skin covering the eyes. Because the conjunctiva is made of the same material as the skin that lines the inside of the nose, both areas are often affected by the same triggers.
There are many different types of allergens, and when they come into contact with the eyes, they can cause them to become red, watery, and itchy. This is because a particular kind of cell in the eye, called mast cells, are releasing histamine to fight off the allergen. Common eye allergens include:
- Dust: Limit your exposure to dust mites by washing your bedding in hot water- at least one hundred and thirty degrees. Allergen reducing covers for mattresses and pillows may also be helpful. In addition, when cleaning floors, instead of using a dust mop or broom, use a damp mop or a rag to trap allergens.
- Pet dander: Sometimes, even pet lovers suffer from allergies to pet dander. If you suffer from pet allergies, it is important to keep pets out of the bedroom, so that you can rest in an allergen- free area. Hardwood or tile floors are better for people with pet allergies, because carpets can trap pet dander.
- Mold: High humidity causes mold to flourish. Keep the humidity in your home between thirty and fifty percent, clean high humidity areas frequently, and consider using a dehumidifier.
- Pollen: Pollen from plants like grass, trees, and ragweed can cause seasonal allergies. If these are a factor for you, it is a good idea to stay indoors during high pollen times, like mid-morning and early evening. Sunglasses or eyeglasses can be helpful in keeping pollen out of your eyes.
- Cosmetics: Chemicals in eye makeup, or even contact lens solutions, can irritate some people’s eyes. Even lubricating eye drops can contain irritants, so be aware of your personal triggers. Switching to hypoallergenic products can be helpful.
The best way to deal with allergies is to keep them from occurring in the first place. However, if you are unable to avoid allergies, you can treat them with eye drops and medications. These include artificial tears, decongestants, antihistamines, corticosteroids, and immunotherapy shots. If you need an eye doctor committed to the highest quality care, call the Tylock-George Eye Care and Laser Center.