There are two types of allergies that can affect the eyes: seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergies commonly make their appearance in spring and summer. This is when you hear a large number of people dealing with similar reactions to the biggest seasonal allergy culprit: pollen.
Perennial allergies are more specific allergies that affect certain people all year long, whenever they come in contact with the object. Feathers, dust, and pet dander are common perennial allergens.
Both seasonal and perennial allergies can cause red, swollen, itchy, burning, and/or watery eyes. These symptoms are caused by the body reacting to the allergen and releasing histamine, a chemical that can cause swelling and inflammation. The release of histamine makes the blood vessels in your eyes swell and become red and itchy.
Relief for Itchy Eyes
Itchy, watery eyes are not only unpleasant but also extremely inconvenient. It’s hard to find relief for your eyes and refrain from scratching them out. At the same time, it’s easy to feel self-conscious when your eyes are constantly red and watery. If you deal with perennial allergies, try to pinpoint what exactly you are allergic to. This makes it easier for you to avoid those things. When you can’t avoid your triggers, a damp rag over your eyes can provide short-term relief.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to itchy eyes, there are a few tried and true medications that can provide some relief to your seasonal or perennial allergies. You can purchase effective medications without a prescription at any drugstore or grocery store. Over-the-counter medications like Claritin, Benadryl and Zyrtec will provide short-term relief for already itchy eyes. Prescription eye drops, such as Crolom and Alomide, provide longer-term relief when taken before symptoms arise.
If over-the-counter or prescription medications aren’t providing any relief for your eyes, your doctor may recommend allergy shots or oral tablets. Consult with your doctor to see if this is an option for you. Some allergy medications can impact conditions like dry eyes, so tell your doctor any eye conditions you may have. Be sure to make an appointment with an allergist to discuss options for allergy relief; while we work with all things eyes, we won’t be able to prescribe any allergy medications.
One last thing: we know it’s hard, but please don’t rub your eyes. It may feel like rubbing your eye provides instant relief, but it will only make them worse in the long run.