Eye Allergy Treatment in Colorado Springs, CO

Eye allergies are a common eye condition affecting 10% to 30% of the general population in the US. While an eye allergy is rarely vision-threatening, it can significantly decrease the quality of your life, making it necessary to seek eye care treatment.   

What Causes Eye Allergies?  

Also known as allergic conjunctivitis, eye allergies are a reaction to indoor and outdoor allergens and irritants, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold spores that get into your eyes. This happens when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment that typically causes no problems in most people.   

So, when an allergen enters the eyes, your immune system mistakes it for a dangerous substance and releases chemicals like histamine that fight against the allergen. The reaction leads to numerous irritating symptoms, such as itchy, red, and watery eyes.   

An eye allergy may happen at any time of year. It’s especially common during early spring through summer and into autumn when trees, grasses, and plants bloom. Other people have eye allergies throughout the year (perennial allergies) triggered by indoor allergies like dust mites or mold. If you have perennial eye allergies, you may experience a seasonal worsening of symptoms if you’re also sensitized to outdoor allergens.  

Eye Doctor For Allergy Treatment in Colorado Springs

Symptoms of Eye Allergies  

Most people with eye allergies have problems with both eyes and other allergy symptoms, such as a stuffy, runny nose, coughing, sinus headache, or sneezing. Symptoms may appear quickly, soon after the eyes contact the allergen.  If you have eye allergies, you may experience the following symptoms:   

  • Itchiness   
  • Red, irritated eyes  
  • Swollen eyelids   
  • Tearing or runny eyes  
  • Sensitivity to light   
  • Soreness, burning, or pain  
  • Feeling like there is dirt or grit in your eyes  

When Should You See A Doctor for Eye Allergies?

Although eye allergies often improve with avoidance of the allergen, this is often practically impossible, especially when you don't know what causes your allergy. If eye allergy symptoms adversely affect your quality of life, seeking treatment from an eye doctor like Dr. Nolasco is essential. At your appointment, we can determine the best eye allergy treatment for you, such as:  

  • Antihistamine drops: The doctor may recommend eye drops with an antihistamine to block histamines, the compounds that cause allergy symptoms. You use them once or twice daily to relieve itching, redness, tearing, and burning.  
  • Artificial tears: This can help relieve eye allergies temporarily by washing allergens from the eye. They also relieve dry, irritated eyes by adding moisture.   
  • Mast cell stabilizers: They take longer to work than antihistamines, but their effect lasts longer. Mast cell stabilizer eye drops to prevent the release of histamine and other substances that cause allergy symptoms.    
  • NSAID eye drops: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are available in eye drops to relieve itching.  
  • Corticosteroids: Steroid anti-inflammatory eye drops are very effective in treating eye allergies, but they are reserved for chronic severe symptoms unresponsive to other treatments. They reduce swelling and decrease the body's immune response, but long-term treatment with steroids (more than two weeks) should be done only under the supervision of your doctor as the side effects of continued use include a risk of infection, glaucoma, and cataracts.  

How to Help Relieve Symptoms at Home  

Here are a few tips to help alleviate some of the eye allergy symptoms at home:  

  • Avoid allergens by keeping the house clean, minimizing soft furnishings and clutter, and staying indoors when the pollen count is high.  
  • Wash your face after exposure to environmental allergens such as dust or pollen.  
  • Keep contact lenses and cases clean and change contact solution daily.  
  • Hold a cold compress on the eyelid to soothe the eyes.  
  • Though challenging, refrain from rubbing the eyes as this can worsen the inflammation.   
  • Prevent mold growth by getting rid of any water leaks and standing water.

Get Specialized Eye Allergy Treatment Today!  

You may have an eye allergy if you have experienced itchiness, a burning feeling, swollen eyelids, or watery eyes. Our experienced optometrist Dr. Nolasco will evaluate your symptoms to determine whether you are experiencing eye allergies. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our Colorado Springs, CO, optometry practice!