Itchy, red, watery eyes? It’s allergy season in the Tennessee Valley.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies each year. With those numbers, it’s no surprise that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.! Here are the answers to some common questions to best prepare you for your allergy battle this season:
What causes allergies?
Allergies occur when the eyes react to something that irritates them. This is called an allergen. The eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen. As a result, the eyelids and conjunctiva become red, swollen and itchy.
Can you catch allergies from another person?
Unlike other kinds of conjunctivitis, eye allergies are not spread from person to person. You can get allergies from pet dander, dust, pollen, smoke, perfumes, and foods. As the seasons change, our bodies try and adjust to the environment.
What are the most common symptoms of an allergic reaction?
Itching is the most common symptom of any allergic reaction. The most commonly reported eye allergy signs and symptoms are redness, tearing, burning sensation, mucus production, and mild eye-lid swelling.
What symptoms may mean more than just allergies?
Symptoms of pain, blurred vision, double vision, or changes in vision are not typical for allergic conjunctivitis and warrant prompt medical attention.
What can be done to help with eye allergies?
For many people using over the counter allergy drops, or home remedies such as cold compresses or artificial tears, may provide some relief. In more severe cases, your eye doctor can prescribe stronger eye drops or medications to treat symptoms. These can be special allergy drops or topical steroids to reduce inflammation and eliminate symptoms.
If you are experiencing symptoms of ocular allergies, or have had issues with allergies in the past, this Spring may be the perfect opportunity to see your local eye doctor. We invite you to come by and check out Eye Care Associates in Madison for this and all your eye care needs! Call us anytime at (256) 772-8711 or visit www.webeca.com.
Mary Tally Watson, O.D.
Eye Care Associates