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Inflammation and Allergies of the Eye

Updated on November 16, 2019
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Mother of two daughters and grandmother of seven, I strive to achieve an optimum level of health and happiness. Life is all about balance.


An Allergy Can Indeed Affect Your Eyes

An allergy occurs when our immune system senses the intrusion of a foreign substance in the body. It reacts to protect the body from this supposed threat. Sometimes the threat is real while at other times the intruding substance can be harmless but the irritation to the eye can result in symptoms.

Whatever the cause of the inflammation the symptoms are real both illness or irritation can cause a reaction on the part of a sensitive immune system. Allergies of the eye generally cause symptoms to appear shortly after the exposure to a triggering agent. Interesting an infection can occur in both eyes or either eye individually whereas an allergic reaction generally affects both eyes simultaneously.

The inflammatory reaction stimulates the release of chemicals within the eye (example: histamine) and it is these that cause the itching, reddening, swelling, burning, tearing or watering, mucous leaching, blood shot, blurred vision that occurs during an allergic reaction. The inflammation can be due an infection within the optical system or from a triggering agent.

A common eye complaint is conjunctivitis known also by its more common term of Pink Eye. It occurs when there is inflammation of the mucus membrane that covers the surface of the eyeball as well as in the inner folds of the eyelid.

Inflamed Eyes Often Display as Pink Eye


Pink Eye Can be Quite Common in Childhood

Have You Ever Suffered from Pink Eye?

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Common Triggers for Eye Allergies

Allergens to the eye are generally airborne particulate but an allergic reaction can also occur from sensitivity to a specific food product. Some of the more common triggers of eye allergies are dust mites, dander, pollen, eggs, peanuts, milk, soy, wheat, fish and some medications.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) generally occurs during the summer months when pollen is at its peak. This type of allergy is characterized by reddened itchy, tearing eyes. This reaction can be quite severe and be accompanied by large amounts of mucous and swelling.

Perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC) occurs year round and is generally caused by stimuli such as dust mites or dander. This form of allergy comes with many of the same symptoms as seasonal allergic conjunctivitis but it is generally milder in nature than that of SAC.

Atopic keratoconjunctivitis is a form of allergic reaction to the eye that involves inflammation of the cornea in addition to inflammation of the conjunctiva membrane. This is usually one of the acutest forms of eye allergy and can lead to blindness if not treated appropriately.

Allergies are best treated by removing the offending allergy trigger. The allergy symptoms themselves can be treated with antihistamines, vasoconstrictors, cool compresses to the eyes, moistening agents, mast cell stabilizers such as cromolyn sodium or lodoxamide, or as in severe allergic reactions with corticosteroids.


Alternative Natural Eye Care Treatments

1. Insure that you are getting a sufficient amount of vitamin A either through your diet or by taking a daily vitamin supplement. Carrots, sweet potato, kale, and spinach are foods rich in Vitamin A.

2. If your eyes are tired, dry, or irritated lay a cool damp cloth over them for about 10 minutes and repeat as needed. It will help to revitalize your eyes. I suffer from dry eye and was advised by my optometrist that this treatment would work as well as using eye drops. To my surprise it does.

3. If you suffer from puffy or dark circled eyes try a cucumber spa treatment. Simply lay the cucumber slices onto each eye then lie back and relax. The ascorbic and caffeic acids will work their magic to draw out the excess water surrounding the eyes.

4. Lay tea bags over your eyes but not just any from the box, pre-used caffeinated tea bags work best. So pop 2 tea bags into a pot and steep for 3 to 5 minutes (I found that too strong irritated rather than relaxing my eyes so go ahead and let it steep that extra minute or two). Then lay back to relax and place the cooled dampened tea bags over your eyes. About 10 minutes should do it.

5. Insure that you are getting adequate sleep. Tired eyes are often sore eyes. Give yours the rest they need. If you spend a lot of time on electronics or watching television please give your eyes break periods throughout the day. Get some fresh air.

6. Protect your eyes. Often it is simply a matter of preplanning. Avoid dusty areas and other potential allergy causing triggers can save your eyes a lot of hurt. And when you need protection, use it. It only takes a minute to pop on protective eye gear so insure that you do.

If you suspect that you may have eye inflammation it is important that you consult with your physician to determine whether your symptoms are caused by an allergy or an infection as each of these conditions require specific treatments.

The Lenses You Wear Can Also Affect Your Eye Health

Do You Wear Contact Lenses?

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Glasses Can Protect the Eyes from Some Airborne Particulate


The Wearing of Contact Lenses Can Also Initiate a Reaction

Giant papillary conjunctivitis is an allergic reaction that is possibly linked to the wearing of contacts. Proteins can build up on the lens surface and this may be the cause of autoimmune system response from the body. It could also be that the contact lens solution may be the trigger or also that the body’s immune response is aimed at the contact lens itself. Symptoms are redness, itching, a mucous discharge and characteristic bumps under the upper eyelids.

Although symptoms may last for up to a few months if the allergy sufferer returns to wearing glasses instead of contacts the allergic reaction will often stop shortly after. If contacts are not worn in the future than the allergy generally will not reoccur. If the sufferer wishes to return to contact wear than regular cleaning of the lenses or the wearing of daily disposable lenses may help to keep this allergy in check.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Lorelei Cohen


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