According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 50 million people in the United States have allergies, which can often affect the eyes. This number represents about 20% of the population. In this blog, we are going to discuss the symptoms of allergies in the eyes, also known as allergic conjunctivitis.

What is Allergic Conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis is a type of eye allergy that causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin, clear tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. It is a common condition that is often caused by environmental factors as well as allergic reaction to substances such as pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander.

What are the Different Symptoms of Allergies in the Eyes?

Allergies that affect the eyes are usually accompanied by:

  • Swelling - Swelling around the eyes can be a symptom of allergies, but it's important to ensure that it's not caused by an infection, which can have more serious consequences. If you have swelling, a fever, or pain with eye movement and are unsure if it's allergy-related, it's a good idea to schedule an emergency eye exam at our Olympia eye care clinic to be on the safe side. If the swelling is only allergy-related, it may be more mild to moderate in severity.  If you are experiencing swelling, fever, and pain with eye movement, it could be a sign of a more serious cause for the swelling that requires immediate medical attention.
  • Itching - Itching in the eyes is another common symptom of allergies and can be difficult to resist the urge to rub or scratch them. However, doing so can often make the itchiness worse in the long run.
  • Red eyes - Another symptom is redness of the eyes and may appear as mild redness or pinkness in the eyes. In some cases, the redness may resemble a pink eye.
  • Watery eyes - Watering of the eyes and a stringy discharge is another symptom of allergies, which may be caused by a build-up of mucus. These symptoms are often mild to moderate in severity.
  • Sneezing - People with allergies affecting their eyes may also experience other symptoms such as a stuffy nose and sneezing.

Eye Allergy Treatment

Mild to moderate allergies affecting the eyes can often be treated with cool compresses, artificial tears, and over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops. These products can help alleviate symptoms such as itchy, red, and watery eyes, as well as swelling and redness. It is important to pay attention to what season or substances may be triggering your allergies and to speak to an optometrist if your symptoms persist or worsen. If these treatments are not effective or you are experiencing severe allergy symptoms, it may be necessary to see your eye doctor and get medications based on your symptoms.

Schedule your visit with our eye doctors for an eye allergy exam at our leading optometry clinic in Olympia, attracting patients from Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. Call (360) 491-2121 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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