Itchy, Watery Eyes: Do I have an eye allergy?

Chrissie Wright
November 17, 2016

Just when you thought allergy season was over: you wake up with itchy, watery eyes – a real bummer whether you wear eyeglasses or contacts! But it’s not just pollen that’ll give your peepers the dreaded redness and puffiness that makes us look like we stayed up way too late the night before. There are many other allergens that’ll give you a reaction that’s nothing to sniff at.

Many eye allergies are caused by your body’s response to allergens in the air, both indoors and out. These can be dust, mold, smoke, pet dander – even your favorite perfume or makeup. And they don’t necessarily have to come in contact with your eyes. Insect bites or stings — even foods that you may be allergic to, can affect your eyes.

Conjunctivitis, or “pink eye,” as you’ve likely heard of before, is one of the most common (and treatable!) eye allergies. Pink eye is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that helps keep your eyelid and eyeball most, and can be caused by allergens. The good news is that allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious. But you should definitely be seen by an eyecare professional like the experts at Cohen’s Fashion Optical, who can help treat this condition.

Symptoms of allergic pink eye include:

  • Redness in the white of the eye
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Swollen eyelids

So how can you prevent allergy eyes, or get relief when they just won’t stop tearing? For one, you can avoid allergens by limiting your exposure to those things you may be most sensitive (mold, dust mites and pet dander are the most common indoor allergens.) The experts at Cohen’s Fashion Optical can help you determine the best solution for your needs. And while rubbing your eyes might be your first reaction, here’s a few other things that’ll help give you some relief:

Cohens Fashion Optical - Eye Health - Eye Allergies - Take Out Contacts

Take out your contacts! The surface of your contact lenses can accumulate airborne allergens, so you might want to stick to your eyeglasses if you’re really suffering. If you just can’t part with your contact lenses, ask one of Cohen’s contact lens experts about daily disposable contacts that you can throw away after a single use.

Eye drops. Over-the-counter, allergy relief eye drops may be just what you need to relieve your allergy eyes. There are many brands to choose from; if you have questions about which is best for you, ask a Cohen’s eyecare specialist to recommend options that’ll meet your needs.

Over-the-counter or prescription medicine. If over-the-counter eye drops just aren’t cutting it, you may need something stronger to give you relief:

Antihistamines can help reduce allergic reactions by blocking histamines (these are what your body releases as a natural allergic response, often giving you a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes).

Decongestants can help relieve eye redness, as they reduce the size of the blood vessels on the whites of your eyes (the sclera), and also make it easier to breathe by shrinking swollen nasal passages.

Cohens Fashion Optical - Eye Health - Eye Allergies - Eye Drops

Prescription Eye Drops: if you’re really suffering, your eye doctor may prescribe corticosteroid eye drops that can help for short term use. However, make sure you use these as directed, since long time use can lead to problems like glaucoma, high eye pressure and cataracts.

Remember, Cohen’s has over 100 locations throughout the East Coast, so there’s bound to be one near you! Their eyecare specialists can help keep your eyes shining bright this holiday season, and leave the redness to Rudolph’s shiny nose. Cheers!