Dr. Fedders answers your questions about eye allergies.
Q: What are the common symptoms of allergies?
A: Itchy, watery, red eyes are the most common ocular symptoms of allergies.
Q: How do allergies directly affect the eyes?
A: Allergies can cause the ocular tissues to become swollen. Also, small bumps can form on the inside of the eyelids.
Q: What is meant by the term allergic conjunctivitis? Is that the same as “pink eye”?
A: Allergic conjunctivitis is when allergens cause the eyes to be irritated and inflamed. Pink eye is an infection caused by bacteria or a virus and can be very contagious.
Q: What is the difference between seasonal and perennial allergies? How would I know the difference?
A: Seasonal allergies usually occur with weather changes that allow for mold, plant or grass growth. Perennial allergies can cause allergic reactions year-round. A good example is pet hair or dander.
Q: Why do my eyes water up from sneezing?
A: The tear ducts in your eyes are connected to the nose by the nasolacrimal duct. Sneezing causes pressure here and can lead to watery eyes.
Q: Can my eye allergies be the cause of headaches or migraines?
A: Yes, people with allergies are ten times more likely to suffer from headaches and migraines.
Q: Can allergies do permanent damage to my eyes?
A: If people rub their eyes often over a long period of time, it can lead to a disease called keratoconus. This happens when the cornea, the front surface of the eye, begins to thin and take on an irregular shape.
Q: What are the treatment options available for this condition?
A: Ocular allergies are treated with eye drops. Also, trying to minimize exposure to the allergens that are causing the allergies is important. Contact lens wearers who suffer from allergies will be most comfortable with daily disposable contacts.