January 27, 2021
Have you experienced the feeling that there’s something lodged inside your eye? If your eyes are red and itchy, but you don’t see anything trapped in them, it could be an allergic reaction. Everyone knows how irritating this can be. Here are some ways you can prevent and treat ocular allergies.
Ocular allergies also referred to as allergic conjunctivitis, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva. This is the tissue layer that lines your eyelids and covers the whites of your eyes. Ocular allergies develop when your immune system becomes sensitized. As a result, your body overreacts to something in the surrounding that usually doesn’t cause a problem in most people. An ocular allergy can happen if an allergen or irritant comes in contact with the antibodies in your eyes. The mast cells in your eyes respond by releasing substances like histamine, causing tiny vessels to leak. Consequently, your eyes become red, gritty, itchy, swollen, and watery.
An allergic reaction can be triggered by outdoor allergens, indoor allergens, and irritants. Limiting contact with these triggers is the cornerstone of treating the condition. Here are some ways you can prevent ocular allergies:
Outdoor Allergens. These include pollen from weeds, grass, and trees. If pollen is a trigger for you, it’s best to avoid going outdoors when pollen counts are at their peak. The same goes for when the wind blows pollens around. If you can’t avoid going outside, wear sunglasses to keep pollen from getting into your eyes. Whenever possible, keep the windows closed and use air-conditioning. These steps apply both in your home and car. This will significantly help reduce exposure to pollen and other allergens.
Indoor Allergens. These generally include mold, dust spores, and pet dander. An increased humidity level can lead to mold growth. If you’re allergic to mold, use a dehumidifier in the basement and other places that are particularly moist. Clean these high-humidity areas and keep the humidity level inside your home between 30 and 50 percent. If dust causes your ocular allergies, keep them off your skin. If possible, use allergen-reducing covers for your pillow and bedding. Wash them frequently with hot water. If pet dander causes your allergy, keep your animal companions in a snug, safe spot outside. Carpets trap pet dander. Instead of using these, opt for wooden or tiled floors. When cleaning the floors, use a damp rag or mop. This way, you can trap the allergens.
Many people who suffer from ocular allergies manage their symptoms well with home remedies and over-the-counter eye care products. But if these don’t work, you must seek medical advice. Besides artificial tears, your eye doctor can help treat ocular allergies with:
Ocular allergies share symptoms with other eye conditions. It’s easy to confuse them with dry eye disease, tear-duct obstruction, or conjunctivitis. That’s why making an accurate diagnosis is vital for effective treatment.
At Maine Coast Eye Care, we can determine what’s causing the discomfort and help you find relief. Call our office today in Rockport, Maine, at (207) 887-0022 to schedule your consultation.