Tears are streaming from your red and puffy eyes. You have to keep assuring everyone that everything is fine.
However, you are not heartbroken. It is merely allergy season.
Like 40 percent of all Americans, you are suffering the misery of allergic conjunctivitis.
There is no doubt about it. Pollen, dust, or pet dander can leave you sneezing and with a runny nose. But they also inflame your eyes.
Allergies can also trigger dry eye disease or worsen any symptoms you may already have.
Keep reading to learn more about the link between allergies and eyes.
Understanding Allergies and Eyes
Our eyes provide us with one of our most important senses, sight. However, they are also one of the most vulnerable organs in our bodies.
So, why are they one of the primary victims of allergy symptoms?
A clear tissue known as the conjunctiva protects the eye. It lines the eyeball and the inside of the eyelid. The conjunctiva’s main job is to keep these parts of the eye moist and protect them from dust and infectious organisms.
However, the eyes are open to the elements and very sensitive. So when they come into contact with allergens, your immune system gets stimulated to protect the eye.
An antibody protein known as immunoglobin will trigger the release of histamines. These chemicals try to get rid of the allergen.
Unfortunately, this is what causes itchy, puffy, watery eyes.
What Causes Allergy Eye Symptoms?
Several things found indoors and outdoors can trigger your eye allergy.
The most likely outdoor culprits tend to show up during spring. The world is coming alive, and plants are growing after a long winter. Unfortunately, this means the release of mass amounts of pollen into the air from weeds, grass, and trees.
This pollen can travel for miles, bringing allergies and itchy eyes to thousands of people.
Indoor allergens include dust and pet dander, which consists of tiny flakes of skin from cats, dogs, birds, and other animals. These can leave you with allergies and puffy eyes all year round.
Some people with allergy symptoms may actually be suffering from something called dry eye disease.
You can read about dry eye disease here.
The common symptoms between allergies and dry eye disease are redness, watery eyes, puffiness, and itching. However, dry eye disease might leave you with more of a scratchy feeling in your eyes.
How to Treat Eye Allergies
Your doctor or pharmacist might give you eye drops to use throughout the day. These can reduce irritation. You can also get special eye drops with antihistamines in them for added relief.
You can also take antihistamines in pill form. If allergies are a year-long struggle for you, you might consider immunotherapy. This includes a series of injections slowly exposing you to the allergen to encourage immunity.
Wearing sunglasses outside can also help protect you from pollen.
Don’t Dread Springtime
Our eyes are not only the windows to our souls. They are also a key indicator of allergies. However, now that you have learned about the links between allergies and eyes, you can work to avoid those springtime tears.
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