Eye allergies are very common and can cause uncomfortable symptoms. An allergic reaction called allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the eye comes into contact with an allergen in the air. Mast cells in the eye release a chemical called histamine, which causes blood vessels in the eye to swell and symptoms such as tearing, itching and redness. Allergens can be found indoors or outdoors, all year round. The seasonal outdoor allergens are found in pollen from trees, weeds and grass. Springtime allergies can also cause sneezing and runny or stuffy nose. The indoor perennial allergies are most commonly caused by pet dander, dust, or mold. You can be tested to identify the cause of your allergies, which is the best way to try and prevent them; or you can try to reduce exposure to the allergen. Prescription or over-the-counter oral medications, nasal sprays and eye drops soothe and relieve allergy symptoms.
To reduce and alleviate your allergic symptoms, make sure to wash the allergens off your clothes and body. Pollen collects in your hair, so it's important to wash your hair every day if you are susceptible to seasonal allergies. Don't rub itchy eyes; clean the eyelids and face gently with a washcloth. Rinse your eyes with a little bit of warm water, and let the tears wash away the allergen. Over-the-counter medications for eye allergies include artificial tears that soothe itching and dilute the allergens, washing them out of the eye together with the histamine. They can be chilled first to provide extra relief. You can also apply a cold wet compress to the eye to soothe itching and reduce swelling.