Eye allergies are among the most common and most annoying allergies out there. Eye allergies, also known as “ocular allergies” or conjunctivitis typically affect the conjunctiva, the clear layer of skin overlying the eyes. Allergic reactions that affect the conjunctiva are called “allergic conjunctivitis” and are divided into two major common types: seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) and perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC). Each of these types of eye allergies has nearly identical symptoms, but differs in that SAC eye allergies occur seasonally, while PAC eye allergies can last year-round.
For someone with an allergy, eyes can become watery, itchy, red, sore and swollen and can sting when an allergen shows up. An eye allergy patient may also experience blurred vision or “sticky eyes” (a mucus buildup in the eyes and in the corners of the eyelids). For SAC eye allergies, grass and ragweed pollens are the most common culprits. PAC eye allergies typically are triggered by indoor allergens including dust mites, molds, feathers and animal dander, particularly for patients who own indoor pets. Other substances like perfume, cigarette smoke and gasoline engine exhaust, while not allergens, can act as irritants that make your eye allergy responses worse. If you have a chronic eye allergy, you may want to check into the ingredients of cosmetics, eye creams or eye drops that you use regularly, as these can contain allergens.
For eye allergy relief, Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida can prescribe or recommend multiple eye allergy treatments including oral antihistamines, decongestants, antihistamine and decongestant/antihistamine-combination eye drops available over-the-counter or by prescription; and allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots). Medications and eye drops are often effective in relieving eye allergy symptoms but only allergen immunotherapy has yet been proven to address underlying issues, potentially curing a patient’s eye allergy.
The near constant itching and watering of the eyes caused by the triggering of an eye allergy can be disruptive to a sufferer’s day-to-day life. Luckily, most pose no long term risks to your eyes or eyesight. However, a few rare conditions associated with eczema (also known as “atopic dermatitis”) and other diseases can cause inflammation that potentially can damage your eyesight.
If you suffer from eye allergies, Allergy & Asthma Specialists of North Florida offers you eye allergy relief. Contact us via our online email form or call for an appointment at one of our four convenient Jacksonville area locations. We have offices on St. John’s Bluff Blvd., the Westside, in Mandarin and in Orange Park.