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Allergy & Itchy Eyes

Allergy & Itchy Eyes

How common are eye allergies?

Up to 40 percent of Americans get eye allergies. Some people just get eye allergies during “allergy season.” Others have chronic eye allergies and have symptoms year round. (40-41)

 

Why do allergies make my eyes itch?

Eye allergies happen when the eye reacts to an allergy trigger, called an allergen. The eye makes a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen and this can cause inflammation of the eye. Common allergens include pet dander, dust, smoke, perfumes or even foods. Other outdoor allergens include ragweed, pollens, dust or mold spores. (42)

 

What are the symptoms of eye allergies?

Eye allergy symptoms include red eyes, “bloodshot” looking eyes, itching and burning eyes, puffy eyelids and eye discharge. (43) Long-term contact with allergens can cause more severe burning and itching and even a painful reaction to light. (42)

 

What can I do to prevent eye allergies?

The best thing you can do to prevent allergies is to avoid or limit contact with the allergens that cause them. if your eye allergies don’t go away, an allergist can perform tests to help find the allergens that trigger your symptoms. (42)

 

What products can help treat eye allergies?

  • Artificial tear drops and sterile saline eye rinse products flush allergens from the eye for short-term relief.
  • Antihistamine eye drops have an anti-itch effect. Some eye drops have only antihistamines, others have a combination of antihistamines and decongestants.
  • If these products don’t relieve your symptoms you can try an oral antihistamine. But that may result in side effects, such as drowsiness and dry mouth.

If they don’t work for you or if your symptoms persist or worsen, speak with your healthcare provider. (44-46)

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