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Ocular Allergies

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Eye allergies can come without warning and be caused by known or unknown sources. We typically associate them with airborne triggers such as hay fever, pollen or grass. Ocular allergies are a byproduct of environmental factors aggravating your immune system which can make daily tasks quite uncomfortable. It’s also common for some allergic reactions to be caused by situational triggers like pet hair and dander, or perfume.
Because some experiences can quite closely resemble troubling symptoms associated with other eye diseases, it’s important to closely monitor your exposure to known allergens and document any new reactions with us. Accurate diagnosis will likely happen over time, but diligence on your part will ensure you’re well equipped for the battle.
Sometimes, with persistent and unexplained reactions, being tested for allergies is the best course of action in knowing exactly what your triggers are.

Signs and Symptoms of Eye Allergies

These symptoms can occur on their own, but depending on severity, can also be accompanied by sneezing, scratching or a running and congested nose.

Symptoms include:

  • Itchy eyes and/or eyelids
  • Redness
  • Watering eyes (clear fluid)
  • Swelling around the eyes and eyelids
  • Burning sensation

When exposed to allergens that trigger your symptoms, the response is nearly immediate and typically begins with persistently itchy eyes. If you aren’t removed from the allergen right away, multiple symptoms will compound and progress causing you to become quite uncomfortable.

Treating Ocular Allergies

The first line of defence is to avoid your known triggers. Making changes to your behaviour can also help, such as: Keeping your windows closed in high pollen periods; wearing sunglasses outdoors; using a humidifier at night to keep airborne dust at minimum; washing your hands frequently.
Non-prescription medication is the second line of defence which includes: artificial tears, decongestant eye drops, or oral antihistamines. For more extreme cases, there are prescription medications available which will alleviate symptoms, or prevent onset of an allergic reaction.
We can provide treatment for red eye/pink eye associated with allergies. If your antihistamine medications are causing discomfort, learn more about how our dry eye clinic may be able to provide you relief.

Written by Dr. Scott Mundle

A University of Waterloo graduate (class of 1983), Dr. Mundle became a partner with Henderson Vision Centre just one year later. Dr. Mundle has been an integral part of Henderson Vision Centre ever since.
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