Eye allergy: How is it managed

Eye allergy or allergic conjunctivitis can trigger reactions such as itchiness, redness, burning or tearing. A reaction arises if an individual was exposed to an allergen such as pollen, dust mites or animal dander.

Management of eye allergy

The initial approach in managing either seasonal or perennial forms of eye allergy is to avoid the potential allergens responsible for triggering the symptoms.

Outdoor exposure

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Over-the-counter eye drops or oral medications are generally used briefly to relieve some of the symptoms.

  • Stay indoors if possible if the pollen count is at its peak, usually during mid-morning and early evening.
  • Do not use window fans that might draw mold and pollen into the house
  • Use glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to reduce the amount of pollen that might enter the eye.
  • Do not attempt to rub the eyes that can trigger irritation and worsen the condition.

Indoor exposure

  • Make sure that windows are closed and use air-conditioning in the house and vehicle.
  • Minimize exposure to dust mites, particularly in the bedroom. Utilize “mite-proof” covers for pillows, duvets, comforters, mattresses and box springs. Bedding must be washed frequently with hot water.
  • Reduce exposure to mold by keeping the humidity in the house low and regularly clean the bathrooms, kitchen and basement. A dehumidifier can be used especially in humid, damp areas.
  • The floors should be cleaned using a damp mop or rag.

Animal exposure

  • Immediately wash hands after touching any animals.
  • If allergic to a household pet, it should be kept out of the house as much as possible. If the pet should stay inside, it should be kept out of the bedroom to prevent exposure to animal dander.
  • Seal the air ducts to the bedroom if there is a forced-air or central cooling or heating.

Medications

Most of the allergens that trigger eye allergy are airborne, thus could not be avoided always.

  • Over-the-counter eye drops or oral medications are generally used briefly to relieve some of the symptoms. Remember though that not all the symptoms can be alleviated.
  • Prescription eye drops and oral medications can also be given by the doctor. These can provide both brief and long-term relief of the symptoms.

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