Eye Allergies

When life had begun to appear on earth, one of the first things to develop was the eyes. The importance of eyes for the survival of any species on the earth can be gauged from this fact. The defense mechanisms put up by the body to protect eyes are quite striking. It includes the eyelids, eyelashes and the conjunctiva, which covers the eyeball. In spite of all this defense mechanism of the body, eyes continue to be one of the most sensitive organs in the human body and are always open to the attack of airborne allergens.

Tears continuously keep the eyes clean but are ineffective when dealing with allergens. An allergy occurs due to the immune response of the body to a foreign particle. Most of the time an allergy is caused by the overreaction of the body. In the eyes, the allergic reaction occurs to the conjunctiva – a transparent membrane covering the eyeball and the under surface of the eyelid. Dust, mold, pet dander and tree pollen are some of the most common allergens. If you are allergic to a particular substance, and when your eyes come into contact with the substance, it will kick start an allergic reaction.

It is estimated that more 50 million Americans suffer from various type of allergies. In it, majority of the people suffer from eye allergies. People with allergic rhinitis or atopic dermatitis or strong family history of allergy are more prone to have eye allergies.

Causes of Eye Allergies

An allergic reaction to the conjunctiva is popularly known as allergic conjunctivitis or ‘pink eye.’ It varies from soft irritation of the eyes to severe itching, which leads to corneal scaring. Direct contact with the allergen is the main cause of eye allergies. The contact can happen through air, hands and from materials used to rub the eyes.

Pollens, spores, pet dander, hair, dust, grass, mold, weeds, certain plants, nail polish, certain medicines and secretions like saliva are some of the most common allergens. The conjunctiva when comes into contact with an allergen produces a chemical called histamine, which causes the symptoms associated with eye allergies.

Cigarette smoke, wind, perfumes, air pollution, diesel exhaust also creates irritation to the conjunctiva but this is not included in eye allergies.

Symptoms of Eye Allergies

Itching is the most important symptom of eye allergy. Redness, watery discharge, swelling of the eyeball, tearing, burning sensation, pain while opening eyelids after sleep, blurred vision, pus formation and the feeling of an alien body in the eye are some of the common symptoms. People wearing contact lens will have discomfort in wearing it. Eye allergies mostly affect both the eyes.

Dry eye and tear duct obstruction are sometimes confused as eye allergies. These two types of ailments have similar symptoms to eye allergies. Conjunctivitis can also be caused by bacteria and viruses.

Conclusion

Eye allergies rarely cause vision impairment. Itching is the most vital symptom of allergic eyes. Although most of the eye allergies are not dangerous, persistent eye allergies should be treated and it is wise to administer drugs after consulting and ophthalmologist.

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Conditions and Diseases of the Eye

Your eyesight is one of the most important things you possess. Taking good care of your eyes is crucial for eye health. However, sometimes the eye is susceptible to various diseases and conditions that you simply cannot prevent. Fortunately, there are treatments available for these problems. Here are the most common eye problems experienced and information on their treatment:

Allergies: Eye allergies are common and affect countless people around the world. Itchy, watery, swollen and red eyes are some symptoms of eye allergies. Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications and eye drops provide easy relief.

Astigmatism: An astigmatism is an abnormal curvature of your cornea. Although this condition may worsen with age, it is easy to remedy with glasses, corrective contact lenses or LASIK surgery.

Blepharitis: This condition is an inflammation of the eye and eyelid that can lead to uncomfortable irritation, watering, and a crusty buildup. Blepharitis sufferers will commonly feel like there is something in the eye. This problem is often caused by a bacterial infection. Treat blepharitis with antibiotics, soothing drops, silicone punctal plugs, warm compresses and occasionally steroids.

Cataracts: A common problem for the elderly is cataracts. Cataracts refers to the clouding of the eye caused by a clumping of protein. This is caused by the aging process. Cataracts start out small and gradually get bigger with time. Cataract surgery is a safe, common procedure that your eye care professional can easily perform to remove the cataracts.

Dry Eye Syndrome: This uncomfortable condition is caused by the lack of proper lubrication in the eye. Chronic dryness, burning and itching are common symptoms of this syndrome. Dry eye syndrome can be caused by menopause or from certain medications. Contact lens wearers also commonly complain of excessive dryness of the eyes. Certain eye diseases and conditions can also cause this problem. Your eyecare professional can prescribe or recommend drops such as artificial tears to alleviate the problem.

Macular Degeneration: Also known as AMD, this condition is the leading cause of vision loss in individuals over the age of 65. Your eye doctor can educate you about the different kinds of macular degeneration. Although there is no cure for this condition, there may be ways your eye doctor can improve your eyesight.

If you experience these or any other eye problems, seek treatment right away from your eyecare professional.