Eye Allergies and the Potential Effect on Ocular Health
Spring is a time of growth and renewal, making it what many consider to be the most beautiful season. Unfortunately, as flowers bloom, pollen counts rise, which can be an issue for those with seasonal allergies. Allergies can cause significant discomfort, but many may wonder how eye allergies affect ocular health.
The eye doctors at Wicker Park Eye Center in Chicago, IL, help patients understand the causes of eye allergies and their irritating side effects. Here we discuss how eye allergies can impact ocular health, as well as what can be done to manage eye allergy symptoms and restore comfort when pollen counts are high.
What Triggers Eye Allergies?
Eye allergies are the result of an immune response that is triggered when the body perceives something as a threat. When the body thinks it is being harmed, it produces antibodies called immunoglobulins. These antibodies are actually what cause the symptoms commonly associated with allergies.
Allergies can result in a wide range of symptoms, depending on the part of the body that is affected. When people suffer from eye allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, the immune response affects the conjunctiva, which is the thin membrane that covers the eye and eyelid. Common eye allergy symptoms include red, itchy, and watery eyes. For some, eye allergy symptoms are mild, but for others, the condition can cause significant discomfort.
Eye Allergies and the Impact on Ocular Health
Eye allergies can sometimes be extremely uncomfortable. Many people limit time outdoors and even have difficulty reading, working on a computer, or performing other essential tasks as a result of eye irritation. As irritating as eye allergies can be, the good news is that allergies themselves do not pose a serious threat to ocular health. Eye allergies result in symptoms that are similar to pink eye (a viral infection), but they are not contagious, they cannot cause any type of infection, and they will not cause vision problems.
Although eye allergies themselves will not compromise ocular health, our Chicago patients who suffer from eye allergies may be more susceptible to some types of eye damage. This is because people tend to rub at their eyes when allergy symptoms strike. Rubbing the eyes may cause scratches or other corneal injuries that can lead to infection.
If people rub their eyes consistently, as is common among eye allergy sufferers, they may even weaken the eye, or distort it over time. This condition, which is called keratoconus, can result in blurred vision and/or an increased sensitivity to light and glare.
Managing Eye Allergies
It is important that we help our Chicago patients manage eye allergies, not only to improve ocular comfort, but also to discourage scratching or rubbing, and the potentially harmful effects that can have. There are many possible treatments for eye allergies, the most common of which are:
- Eye drops/artificial tears
- Allergy shots
Contact Wicker Park Eye Center
If you believe that you are suffering from eye allergies, the doctors at Wicker Park Eye Center can help you manage allergy symptoms and restore eye comfort. To learn more about potential treatment options, send us a message online or call our office at (773) 376-2020.