Many people are familiar with the itchy, red eyes caused by hay fever, but they don’t realize that eye symptoms alone are a sure sign of eye allergies. The experts at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic accurately diagnose eye allergies and provide symptom relief with exceptional treatment. To schedule an appointment, use the online booking feature or call one of the 13 offices throughout the Pacific Region, including Fremont, Oakland, Redwood City, Sunnyvale, San Mateo, and San Leandro, California; Clackamas and Gresham, Oregon; Bellevue, Fishers Landing, Longview, and Salmon Creek, Washington; and Eagle, Idaho.
Like all types of allergies, an eye allergy develops when your immune system mistakenly identifies a safe substance as an allergen that’s bad for your body. Every time you encounter that allergen, your immune system releases a barrage of chemicals to fight the invader. These chemicals, such as histamines, cause your allergic reaction.
Eye allergies are often caused by:
One type of eye allergy, atopic keratoconjunctivitis, is a genetic condition that causes your immune system to produce more antibodies than normal to allergens responsible for eye allergies.
An eye allergy only causes eye symptoms. You may experience:
Other types of allergies, such as hay fever, cause eye symptoms along with a host of additional symptoms, such as sneezing and a runny or congested nose. These extra symptoms aren’t typically present when you have only an eye allergy.
Your treatment for eye allergies may include medicated eye drops, artificial tears, and antihistamines. It’s also important to identify your allergen and come up with a plan to limit or avoid your exposure. To that end, your doctor at Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic may recommend allergy testing to specifically determine your allergens.
Most patients with an eye allergy have a skin prick test. During this quick procedure, multiple small drops of suspected allergens are dropped on your arm or back, then the skin beneath each drop is gently pricked. If you’re allergic to any of the substances, you develop a small skin reaction within 15-20 minutes.
If medications and avoiding your allergen fail to provide enough symptom relief, you may be a good candidate for immunotherapy, or allergy shots. You receive a series of shots containing small doses of your allergen. Over time, your immune system learns to tolerate the allergen, significantly diminishing or eliminating your eye allergy.
To get help for itchy, irritated eyes, call Columbia Asthma & Allergy Clinic or schedule an appointment online.