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.

Office Hours

Monday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Thursday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Friday:

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Locations

Find us on the map

Testimonial

Review From Our Satisfied Patient

  • "Dr. Monterola and her staff were both friendly and professional. They instantly saw me when I arrived. My eyes were examined and glasses picked in 45 minutes. I highly recommend Greenwood Optical."
    Andy Meyer / Seattle, WA

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

  • Glaucoma and You: The Importance of Eye Exams

    Want to avoid vision loss due to glaucoma? Schedule a visit with the eye doctor. ...

    Read More
  • Important Healthy Eye Habits for Kids

    Want to keep your kids' eyes as healthy as possible? Try these tips. ...

    Read More
  • Healthy Vision Month

    Get ready for Healthy Vision Month by upgrading your vision habits. ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia eye drops

    Would you like to stop squinting when you look at close objects? A new kind of eyedrops can improve presbyopia, an age-related vision problem. ...

    Read More
  • Dry Eye

    Sometimes your eyes don’t make enough tears or the tears evaporate too fast because they don’t have the right amount of compounds in them. This is called dry eye. Up to 5% of Americans complain of some form of dry eye. Individuals who wear contact lenses or have undergone LASIK or other types of ...

    Read More
  • Subconjunctival Hemorrhage

    Similar to a bruise under the skin, a subconjunctival hemorrhage happens when a small blood vessel located between the sclera (white portion of an eye) and the conjunctiva (lining on the surface of an eye) breaks and covers the sclera with blood. Unlike broken blood vessels located under the skin which ...

    Read More
  • Decorative (Plano) Contact Lenses

    Colored contact lenses allow you to temporarily change your eye color whether or not you need to correct impaired vision. In this way, you can create a more subtle eye appearance, wear a crazy design for special occasions, or just enjoy a new eye color. Will Colored Contacts Change the Way I See? Yes, ...

    Read More
  • Wandering Eye

    A wandering eye is a type of eye condition known as strabismus or tropia, and it may be caused by damage to the retina or muscles that control the eye, stroke or brain injury, or an uncorrected refractive error like farsightedness. With a wandering eye, one eye deviates or wanders in a different direction ...

    Read More
  • Reading and Writing

    For many adults, reading and writing come so naturally that they seem almost effortless. However, reading and writing are actually complicated skills that take significant effort to learn. For example, reading involves recognizing letters, associating letter combinations with their corresponding sounds, ...

    Read More
  • Lazy Eye

    Lazy eye, also referred to as amblyopia, is a condition that develops in infancy or early childhood, and it typically starts when the focus in one eye is more enhanced than the other. The eye with less focus might be impaired due to a significant amount of farsightedness or astigmatism, or something ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles