It is estimated that one in five Americans is affected by eye allergies.

Many of the same allergies that affect your sinuses, nose, or lungs can affect your eyes. The eye is one of the most sensitive organs in the body and as airborne allergens or other particles come in contact with the surface of your eyes, a number of symptoms occur in response.

Eye Allergy Symptoms:
 

  • Watery eyes
  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Tearing
  • Burning sensation
  • Swelling of the eyelids
  • Foreign body sensation

What causes it?

Eye allergies, sometimes known as allergic conjunctivitis, are like chain reactions. When an “allergen” comes in contact with your eye, it causes the cells to release histamine and other chemicals/substances, which, in turn, swell the blood vessels that make your eyes feel itchy, red, and watery.

Allergen triggers are found outdoors and indoors. Outdoor allergens are more seasonal and commonly include grass, tree, and weed pollens. If you wear contacts, allergens may even become embedded on the lenses. Year-round indoor triggers are pet hair or dander, dust mites, and molds. Irritants, such as cigarette smoke, cosmetics, perfumes, and diesel exhaust, may also produce similar symptoms.

How is it treated?

Most treatments involve common sense, along with over-the-counter medications. OTC eye drops and non-prescription allergy medicine may relieve many symptoms, however, if symptoms continue, you should seek advice from a physician and/or eye care specialist.