Allergies and Your Eyes

Spring has sprung!   

The grass has riz!   

Itchy eyes are the common fizz!  

Do your eyes start to water thinking about springtime 

30-40% of the population report symptoms of suffering allergies at least once in their lifetime. These may be confined to the eyes or occur in combination with nose and throat symptoms.  

People suffering from ocular allergies can report symptoms such as: 

  • Severe itching, particularly in the corner of your eye near your nose 
  • Red eyes 
  • Watery eyes 
  • Stringy discharge or eyes that are ‘stuck together’ in the morning 
  • Swollen, dark coloured eyelids 

The most common allergy is to grass pollens during hay fever season – August to December – but this is not exclusive.  Allergies can also occur to dust mites, animals or anything that encounters the eyes such as makeup, contact lens solution or even fake eye lash glue! 

So…. is it a big deal? 

Most people who suffer allergies understand how frustrating they can be to live with.  A common response to itchy eyes is to rub them, which can seem harmless, but is associated with an anterior eye disease called keratoconus, which can lead to decreased vision.  It is important, especially for children and young adults, to be gentle with their eyes and not “rub” them excessively. 

What can be done about allergies? 

It is important to get proper advice about allergies from a trained healthcare professional. At Pezzimenti Nixon our Optometrists are well trained and have the right equipment to examine the eyes and accurately diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis (which can often be confused for other forms of conjunctivitis).  We can also prescribe appropriate therapy which can range from avoiding the allergen, using regular lubrication drops and administering prescription medications as directed, depending on the severity and longevity of symptoms. 

 

References  

Singh K, Axelrod S, and Bielory L. The epidemiology of ocular and nasal allergy in the United States, 1988-1994. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2010;126(4):778-783. 

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