Do you have red, itchy eyes? You can suffer from allergic conjunctivitis at any time of the year. Discover the symptoms of eye allergies, what treatments are available, and how to prevent them.

Allergic conjunctivitis

Do you feel an intense tingling in your eyes that makes it hard to stop rubbing them? It may be allergic conjunctivitis. This eye condition is sometimes accompanied by redness and watery eyes. It may also cause your eyes to swell.

What is allergic conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis is the medical term for eye allergies in general, which includes seasonal allergies. In an ocular allergy, the eye's conjunctiva becomes red in reaction to allergens. The conjunctiva is the thin transparent membrane that joins the eyeball to the eyelids.

Many allergens cause allergic conjunctivitis:

  • Pollens
  • Dust
  • Molds
  • Animal hair
  • Makeup
  • Cosmetics
  • Cleaning products

Allergens are usually harmless substances, but some people are more prone to allergic reactions than others.

When the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis are accompanied by sneezing and a clear nasal discharge, it is called allergic rhinitis or ocular rhinitis. This is also more commonly known as hay fever and is treated in the same way as allergic conjunctivitis.

What are the best treatments for allergic conjunctivitis?

Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis usually consists of antihistamines, eye drops and cold compresses. Antihistamines are available over the counter in pharmacies. You can get a prescription from a doctor or optometrist if these are ineffective.

If you have ocular allergic rhinitis, it is also helpful to use a nasal decongestant to relieve your nasal symptoms.

Eye allergies do not pose a health risk to your eyes. However, repeated rubbing can eventually scratch the cornea's surface, especially if a foreign object is in the eye (sand, dust, etc.). If you feel pain or discomfort, make an appointment for an eye exam.

The link between eye allergies and the sun

If you suffer from eye allergies, it is recommended to protect your eyes from the sun. Because of the allergic reaction, your eyes are red, watery and irritated. In other words, they are already weakened. UV rays can be even more uncomfortable, but they can also worsen allergy symptoms.

That's why it's always best to use a good quality pair of sunglasses that offer 100% protection from UV rays. Some types of sunglasses fit the face to protect the eyes on the sides better. In addition, sunglasses are a great way to limit the amount of pollen that comes in contact with your eyes.

How to prevent eye or ocular allergies

Eye allergies can be prevented to some extent. And taking the proper steps can help you prevent them or limit the symptoms:

  • Identify the allergenic substance and try to eliminate it when possible (cosmetics, cleaners, etc.)
  • Wash your hands often throughout the day
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes directly with your hands
  • Use protective gear when mowing the lawn
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors
  • Do not allow pets on the bed
  • Wash sheets more often during an allergy flare-up to remove allergens
  • Use a sweeper with a filter specially designed to trap allergens

If you have any questions about your eye allergies, visit your nearest IRIS store.