Sneezing, coughing, an itchy, runny nose – millions of Americans are plagued by these allergy symptoms every year, and roughly 20% to 40% of people suffer from allergies affecting their eyes. But there are lots of reasons your eyes could be irritated, so how do you know if allergies are the cause? Here are the common symptoms of eye allergies:
- Itching – Itching is a hallmark of ocular allergies, most commonly itching in the inner corner of your eyes.
- Redness – A mild, overall redness of the whites of your eyes is common for eye allergy sufferers
- Watering – Discharge is common in lots of different eye conditions but if it’s watery, it’s more likely to be allergy related
- Swollen/Puffy Eyelids – Puffy eyelids that aren’t really tender, just puffy, is a common finding in eye allergies
- + a Runny Nose – over 70% of people with ocular allergies also have nasal involvement (runny, itchy nose). So if your eye irritation is your only symptom, allergies is less likely to be the answer
If your eye irritation sounds like the symptoms described above, more than likely allergies are playing a role. So what can you do about it? Oral allergy medication like Zyrtec or Claritin can do a good job of addressing the nasal component of allergies, but an eye drop is much more effective in treating the ocular components. There are several different brands of over the counter allergy drops, one of our favorites is Pataday. Sometimes a stronger drop can be necessary, so if an over the counter drop doesn’t quite seem to be working good enough give us a call so we can make you an appointment and prescribe you something stronger. You should also make an appointment if your irritation does not seem to fit within the above symptoms so our optometrists can determine the root cause and prescribe the best treatment to get you feeling back to your best.