It’s estimated that 20% of the general population has allergic conjunctivitis, which is the most common type of eye allergy. The tricky thing about eye allergies is that they share the same symptoms as serious eye conditions. After performing a comprehensive eye exam, Dr. Bryan Ma can determine the exact cause of your symptoms and prescribe the best treatment for your eyes. If you have questions about eye allergies, call the doctor’s practice, Bryan Ma, O.D. Optometry in Orange, California, or book an appointment online.
Eye allergies develop when your immune system overreacts and labels a normally safe substance as an allergen that’s harmful to your body. Then every time you encounter the allergen, your immune system releases chemicals that cause allergy symptoms.
If you’re familiar with other types of allergies, such as hay fever, you know that they can cause eye symptoms together with sneezing and nose symptoms.
By comparison, a true eye allergy only causes problems with your eyes, such as:
These symptoms can also be signs of other eye problems that are more serious than eye allergies, so it’s always a good idea to protect your eyes and schedule a comprehensive eye exam.
You can develop an eye allergy in response to a variety of different allergens. However, the most common eye allergy, allergic conjunctivitis, is caused by airborne allergens such as pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander. This type of eye allergy may be worse at certain seasons or last all year, depending on your allergens.
Other types of eye allergies can be triggered by medications or in response to proteins that stick to the surface of your contact lenses. Older patients with a history of eczema may develop a chronic eye allergy call atopic keratoconjunctivitis.
The first line of treatment for eye allergies includes over-the-counter eye drops to relieve your symptoms. Dr. Ma often recommends these products that provide quick relief for eye allergy symptoms:
Beyond alleviating symptoms, the next step in treating eye allergies is to try to avoid your allergens. Since most eye allergies are caused by airborne substances, taking steps such as keeping your windows closed and running your air conditioning can help.
If your eye allergies are severe, you may want to consider seeing an allergy specialist, having a skin test to identify your allergens, and talking with that doctor about allergy shots (immunotherapy).
We can help you find relief from eye allergies. Call Bryan Ma, O.D. Optometry or book an appointment online.