Your immune system enhances chemical changes in your body that help fight off bacteria, viruses, and other harmful invaders. However, when you have an allergy, your body mistakenly identifies harmless allergens as dangerous intruders and begins to fight against them. For instance, your system releases histamine when your body comes in contact with potential allergens, resulting in various uncomfortable symptoms like watery and itchy eyes, coughing, and sneezing. Though you are likely to have eye allergies in Bronx at any time of the year, they are most common in the months of summer, spring, and fall when plants, trees, and grasses bloom. You might also get an allergic reaction when you come in contact with an allergen and accidentally rub your eyes.
Possible eye allergy triggers
Eye allergies result from a misfiring of your immune system, causing your body to react to things in your environment that are not harmful, like dust mites, pollen, and mold. During the allergic reaction, your system releases histamine (the chemical triggering swelling and inflammation), causing your eye’s blood vessels to swell and your eyes to tear and become red and itchy. The possible triggers of eye allergies include:
- Indoor allergens like pet dander and dust. Animals like rabbits, cats, dogs, and horses are possible triggers. Though you can get pet dander from the air, you can also get it from your hands.
- Pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. As the most notorious pollens, you are likely to react to tree pollens in spring, grass pollen in summer, and weed pollens in the fall
- Contact lenses (giant papillary conjunctivitis)
- Other chemicals from your make-up or perfume
You will most likely start showcasing allergy symptoms when your eyes come in contact with possible triggers. You might suspect eye allergies when you experience the following symptoms:
- Tearing eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Sore and painful eyes
- A burning sensation that makes you rub your eyes
- Red and irritated eyes
What is the difference between an eye allergy and pink eye?
The conjunctiva covers your eyeballs. When something irritates or inflames your conjunctiva, conjunctivitis or pink eye is likely to occur. The condition forces your eyes to water and becomes itchy. You are likely to have pink eyes because of eye allergies and other issues including chemicals, viruses, contact lenses, and bacterial infections. On the other hand, eye allergies result from a severe immune reaction. Unlike pink eye that is highly contagious, an allergy is not.
How to lower your risk of developing eye problems
Though it is challenging to prevent eye allergies and infections, there are various ways you can minimize your risk of having the problems. For instance, your ophthalmologist might advise you to keep your windows shut and use an air purifier to help you address indoor triggers like dust mites. You may also wash your hands frequently to help minimize your risk of developing pink eye and take care of your contact lenses and make-up to lower the risk of pink eye spreading.
Understanding potential triggers to your allergies is crucial when you have eye problems. Contact your ophthalmologist to know how to minimize your risks of developing eye problems.