Authored by: Dr. Seshachalam Nitin MBBS, MS Cataract & Lasik Surgeon, Maxi Vision Eye Hospital Hyderabad
Allergies can affect different parts of the body like the respiratory system and the skin. However the eyes also are commonly affected by allergies which could lead to a myriad variety of symptoms: red, burning, and itchy eyes watering of eyes ropy or clear discharge excessive eye watering foreign body sensation (feeling of sand in the eye) puffiness of eyelids These eye symptoms could also be accompanied by respiratory symptoms like frequent sneezing, colds, runny nose, wheezing and breathing difficulty in asthmatics and also skin rashes in some cases. The main reason behind the increase in allergies is increased Pollen in the air in summer. Pollen are microscopic particles naturally released from plants and trees during this season. Some people are hypersensitive to this pollen, which when inhaled by them, causes their immune system to trigger a defensive response in the form of antibodies and chemicals like histamine that triggers the typical symptoms described above.
* LIMIT ALLERGEN EXPOSURE Pollen, dust mites, mold, etc are the common allergens encountered in our environment.
* The use of sunglasses outdoors and masks (thank you covid protocols) can go a long way in reducing exposure to these.
* Pollen levels are highest in the mornings and evenings and movement outdoors can be prevented at these times if possible.
* Also staying away from pollutants like automobile exhausts, cigarette smoke, etc. helps to prevent triggering symptoms.
* Frequent vacuuming, changing bed linen more frequently, use of HEPA filters or air conditioning with proper air filtration can limit our exposure to the triggers Indoors.
* People with pets have to be extra careful in this regard.
* Contact lens users have to be extra careful as the surface of the lens can attract and accumulate allergens making your symptoms worse.
Ideally, avoid the use of lenses and switch over to glasses. If unavoidable, try to use daily disposable lenses. NO EYE RUBBING This is very important as rubbing our eyes causes the release of histamine, which in turn causes more itching and thus becomes a vicious cycle. The easiest way is to use an ice pack over the eyes whenever they feel itchy. Wrap a few ice cubes in a clean cloth and place it over closed eyelids for at least 5 mins. This goes a long way in reducing redness and itchiness. Another issue with eye rubbing is that it introduces allergens around the eye and nose and therefore has to be avoided.
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