Eye Allergy: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis
What Is Eye Allergy?
An Eye Allergy is a condition involving the immune system of the body which occurs when the eye comes in contact with certain allergens or substances which when enter or come in contact with the body trigger off an immune response causing a variety of symptoms. These allergens can be present in the environment in the form of dust, smoke, or pollen.
It is common for the body to protect itself against foreign bodies through the immune system but sometimes what happens is that the immune system gets triggered by even harmless substances like dust particles and in the process of fighting off this invader releases a chemical known as histamine which in turn causes variety of symptoms like sneezing, watering of the eyes and eye itching which are the typical symptoms of Eye Allergy. The symptoms of Eye Allergy can be treated with over the counter or prescribed medications or in some cases immunotherapy or allergy shots.
What Causes Eye Allergy?
Eye Allergy is mostly caused due to allergens present in the environment like pollen, spores from animal dander, molds, smoke which is common is cities in the present times, dust which is also quite common and something which is unavoidable. The mechanism of how these substances trigger an allergic reaction is that the immune system of the body takes them as foreign invaders and starts producing antibodies to fight them. During this process chemical called histamines are released which causes the symptoms such as watery and itchy eyes and red eyes typical of what we call as Eye Allergy.
Eye Allergy does happen at a particular time period or a particular season. An individual can get Eye Allergy at any time of the year but this is most common during the spring and summer season. An Eye Allergy can also happen if some dust particle enters the eye and the individual rubs the eyes. This can also cause the eyes to become red and watery. If an individual is allergic to certain foods then this can also be a cause of Eye Allergy.
What Are The Symptoms Of Eye Allergy?
Some of the symptoms of Eye Allergy are:
- Burning in the eyes
- Eye itching
- Watery eyes
- Eyes becoming red
- Scaling around the eyes
- Swollen eyelids
Eye Allergy may affect one or both eyes. In some cases, the symptoms of Eye Allergy may be accompanied by runny nose, nasal congestion, and sneezing and coughing as well.
How Is Eye Allergy Diagnosed?
If an individual has an Eye Allergy, then he or she will have to consult with an allergist for a confirmatory diagnosis who will first take a detailed history of when the symptoms started and what was the means of exposure to the allergens responsible for the symptoms. The best way to confirm the diagnosis is by performing a skin prick test in which small punctures are made in the skin in the arm of the back and various allergens are applied to that site. If an individual is allergic to certain allergen then the individual will develop a raised area of hive within 10 minutes of application of the allergen. This will allow the allergist to have a fair idea as to which allergen is the individual most sensitive to and allows him or her to formulate a treatment plan.
How Is Eye Allergy Treated?
There is practically no treatment for Eye Allergy but symptoms can be calmed down by knowing the allergen the individual is most sensitive to first and then avoiding the allergen but this is something which may not be always possible and thus there are medications which can be prescribed or taken over the counter to help relieve the symptoms of Eye Allergy. The medications given for Eye Allergy are antihistamines in the form of Claritin or Benadryl and steroids such as prednisone. An individual can also be given allergy shots to relieve the symptoms of Eye Allergy in case if the symptoms do not improve with the above mentioned medications. There are also certain eyedrops that can be utilized for relief of symptoms of Eye Allergy.
These eyedrops contain olopatadine hydrochloride which is quite helpful in relieving symptoms of Eye Allergy. One of such eyedrops is Patanol. Artificial tears are also something that is quite useful in treating Eye Allergy. There are other eyedrops as well which contain antihistamine properties and quite helpful in relieving symptoms of Eye Allergy. These drops can be put everyday or on an as needed basis depending on the symptoms. It should be noted here that before starting any eyedrops it is important to consult with the physician to discuss the side effect profile of the eyedrop and select the eyedrop best suited for the condition.
What Is The Prognosis For Eye Allergy?
Eye Allergy is something which is bound to recur if an individual is extremely sensitive to allergens. Even though there is no cure for Eye Allergy, there are some medications and eyedrops available to relieve the symptoms of Eye Allergy. An individual can also be helped greatly by taking allergy shots to boost up the immune system and sustain long term relief of symptoms of Eye Allergy.