If you're suffering from red, itchy eyes, you're not alone. A quarter of the world's population experiences eye allergies. Common triggers include pollen, weeds, dust mites, smoke, and mold. Your allergies might be seasonal or triggered by substances in your environment. At Fountain Valley Optometry in Fountain Valley, we can diagnose your red and itchy eyes and collaborate with you to develop a treatment plan to manage your allergy symptoms. Here's what you should know about eye allergies.
What Causes Eye Allergies?
Eye allergies are triggered by various environmental factors, both indoors and outdoors. Outdoor allergens such as pollen, grass, ragweed, and mold spores can lead to redness, itchiness, soreness, and watery eyes. Indoor allergens encompass pet dander, dust, cigarette smoke, and dust.
Symptoms of Eye Allergies (Allergic Conjunctivitis)
- Burning sensation
- Watery eyes
- Puffy eyes
- Sensation of a foreign object in the eye
Types of Eye Allergies
1. Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis: Intense itchiness and redness in the eyes during specific times of the year, like spring or fall. This could be due to allergies to substances like tree pollen, grass, or flowers.
2. Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis: Sometimes, substances that come into contact with your eyes can trigger an allergic reaction. Imagine using new makeup, lotion, or even eye drops, and suddenly experiencing itchiness, redness, and irritation in your eyes. This is referred to as contact allergic conjunctivitis.
3. Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis: Characterized by intense itching and watering of the eyes, as if there's an irritant present. Children experiencing vernal keratoconjunctivitis typically feel this, especially in warm climates. The condition results from an excessive immune response to substances like pollen and dust, causing eye swelling, redness, and potentially blurry vision.
4. Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis: Generally affects individuals with allergies like eczema and asthma. The eyes become red, itchy, and sensitive to light, aligning with the overall discomfort caused by allergies.
5. Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis: While contact lenses improve vision clarity, prolonged use might lead to irritation and blurry vision. This condition, known as giant papillary conjunctivitis, involves the formation of small bumps on the inner eyelids due to irritation from contact lenses. These bumps cause itchiness, watering, and discomfort in the eyes.
Available Treatment Options
Your eye doctor might recommend artificial tears eye drops to lubricate the eyes and flush out dust particles that could cause irritation. These drops also alleviate dry eye and non-allergy-related redness. Another option is antihistamine eye drops, which work by blocking histamine, the body's response to allergens in the environment.
Seek Professional Eye Care Services
If you're experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact Fountain Valley Optometry immediately to schedule an appointment. We serve the Fountain Valley community and are committed to restoring your clear vision quickly.