Allergies

Image of a young girl blowing her nose.

Caused by the same irritants as hay fever, runny nose, coughing, and sneezing, eye allergies commonly affect those who suffer from other allergy symptoms. Not only do eye allergies cause discomfort, but they can also interfere with daily activities.

Eye Allergy Causes

Medically referred to as allergic conjunctivitis, individuals who are predisposed to allergic reaction experience eye allergies when they come into contact with allergens (substances which prove harmless to others, like pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander). In addition to these allergens, some eye allergy sufferers also experience reactions to perfumes, smoke, cosmetics, insect bites/stings, foods, and the preservatives found in eye drops.

When an allergy sufferer's eyes come into contact with an allergen, his or her immune system reacts, and cells known as mast cells release histamine to try to combat the allergen. Histamine causes the symptoms associated with eye allergies.

Eye Allergy Symptoms

When mast cells in the eyes release histamine to fight off allergens, the eye lids, conjunctiva (membrane covering the underside of the eyelid), and sclera (white of the eye) become irritated. This leads to swelling, redness, watering, burning, and itching. Severe eye allergies can also cause light sensitivity. Though it appears similar, unlike pink eye (bacterial or viral conjunctivitis), allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.

Who Is at Risk?

Eye allergies affect up to 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. While anyone can be born with or develop allergies, people whose parents suffer from allergies are more likely to have allergies.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you suffer from eye allergy symptoms, an eye care professional can provide you with a proper diagnosis, ruling out bacterial or viral conjunctivitis. Often over the counter eye drops formulated for allergy relief are often sufficient treatment. If they do not provide enough relief, an eye care professional can recommend or prescribe other methods of treatment such as decongestants, oral antihistamines, eye drops with antihistamine and mast stabilizer, corticosteroids, or immune therapy shots.

Eye Allergy Prevention

The best way to prevent eye allergies is to avoid eye allergens. Keep windows closed and stay indoors as much as possible during allergy season, replace air conditioning filters with high quality filters that trap allergens, reduce exposure to animals, wash bedding in hot water to remove allergens, and reduce humidity in the home to prevent mold growth.

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Gainesville Office

Monday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:30 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-1:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "York Eye is great! Great doctors and extremely friendly staff! No wait time and it was a quick visit. I got contacts for a very reasonable price as well. I will definitely be going here for exams from now on."
    Bethany S.
  • "York Eye Associates is a eye clinic with state of the art equipment. Their staff is friendly yet very professional. My experiences over the years of treatments has been excellent and I'm a loyal customer for life. Thanks to all the staff at York Eye Associates for the assets you bring to this community."
    Steve C
  • "Most thorough eye exams I've had with any doctor. Takes the time to completely go over your exam and explaining results. Before going to Dr. York I had almost given up on contacts but she fitted me correctly and keeps me informed of new advances in that industry."
    Jim B.