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Eye Allergies



When something comes in contact with the surface of your eye, either airborne or from your hands a cellular reaction takes place. Allergic conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the clear membrane covering the white of the eye. Common signs and allergy eye symptoms include redness, swelling, itching scratchiness, watering and foreign body sensation. Particles in the air like animal dander, dust, odors and pollens are called antigens.

These foreign substances (antigens) are not recognized by the eye's defense system (immune system). A protective reaction takes place causing the release of histamine by cells in the blood stream called mast cells. This reaction of your immune system results in allergy symptoms. In most cases allergic conjunctivitis affects both eyes as opposed to other causes of red eye (pink eye) that often time effects one eye. Not to confuse things allergy can affect one eye as well. That's why it important to visit your eye doctor if you have eye discomfort.

Allergy eye drops for the most part provide eye allergy relief. In some cases oral antihistamines can be beneficial. Avoidance of the causal agent is important. Topical eye drops in the form of decongestants, antihistamines, mast cell inhibitors or combinations are useful in the treatment of eye allergies. In addition cold packs are often used.

While it is often difficult to prevent allergic conjunctivitis, you can control symptoms by avoiding exposure to antigens. Try to stay indoors when pollen counts are high and do not have pets if you are sensitive to animal dander. Use artificial teardrops to keep your eyes lubricated, wash your hands frequently and avoid rubbing your eyes. If necessary our doctors can prescribe medication for your eyes.

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