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Eye allergies and what to do about them

Monday, April 20, 2015 @ 12:04 AM
Author: Amit Mathur



Spring is the most common time for eye allergies to strike with pollen in the air and other seasonal allergens. Still eye allergies can strike any time of year and affect different people in different ways. Other things like dust from construction sites or dust mites can cause general eye allergies. Regardless of what time of year it is allergies can be an inconvenient and painful.


The most common symptoms of eye allergies are itching, redness, burning and watering eyes. Some will also experience dark circles under the eyes, puffy eyelids, sensitivity to bright lights and mucus.

Eye allergies will sometimes be accompanied by more general allergic symptoms like sneezing, sniffling and nasal discomfort depending on the type of allergy you have. Fever may also occur. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

If the eyes are itchy it is best not to rub the eyes as this may worsen symptoms, hurt the eyes, introduce germs or cause infection.

Seasonal allergens

Seasonal allergens are most common in the spring, summer and fall when plants are producing pollen and there is other plant material in the air. For many these are regular allergies that come every season. During these times you avoid areas with plants that you know you are allergic to and keep windows closed to avoid letting pollen in.

Indoor allergens

There can be sources of allergens within your home that should be investigated if you are experiencing eye allergies especially outside the normal seasonal periods.

  • Pet Dander

Pet dander is one source of allergies in the home. If you have been near a pet or recently acquired a pet and begin to experience allergies you may be allergic to it. Make sure to minimize your exposure to pets and to get breeds you are not allergic to if you still wish to own a pet.

  • Dust Mites

Dust mites can also cause allergies. They are small bugs that often live in homes and other spaces inhabited by humans. They find on organic detritus like the skin humans shed. They are most commonly found in bedrooms and mattresses. Dust mites produce digestive enzymes, which along with their exoskeleton are the main source of these allergies.

It is easy to take steps to reduce the effect of dust mites. They can’t survive in dry and cool places and are usually at their worst during the summer months. Cover your mattress and pillows in airtight plastic dust mite covers. Buy polyester pillows. Wash your bedding in hot water to kill dust mites.

  • Mould

Mould is a common and problematic indoor allergen. It grows in wet places in the home so watch for signs of leaks or water build up. In some cases mould spores cause allergies in others mould can produce toxic spores. If you suspect that your home has a mould problem bring in a professional to take a look.

Eye irritants

Cigarette smoke, dust, perfume and air pollution can irritate your eyes and spark allergic symptoms. If your eyes are suddenly irritated think about potential irritants they may have been exposed to and avoid these in the future. Some irritants like air pollution are a part of life in certain places while others can be avoided and minimized.


There are a range of non-prescription allergy treatments that can be taken in the short term to reduce the symptoms of allergies including artificial tears, eye drops and general antihistamines sold in pill form. The oral antihistamines can cause tiredness and may dry your eyes out.

If you have persistent and problematic allergies see an eye doctor or allergist about the problems. They can offer you prescription options including eye drops, allergy shots and oral antihistamines.

If there are irritants like dust, smoke or allergens like pollen in the air you can wear goggles, sunglasses or glasses to minimize exposure to your eyes. Minimize indoor allergens in your home and workplace. Minimize exposure to eye irritants.

Seeing an eye doctor can also rule out less common causes of these symptoms like a parasitic infection.

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