Many people suffer with eyes that are red, watery, itchy, tearing or burning. Often these conditions are caused by eye allergies (allergic conjunctivitis), which affects millions of Americans each year. A great many people with these symptoms just ignore them hoping that they will go away or that they are simply a part of another condition such as a cold or nasal allergy. Our optometrist in Las Vegas can diagnose an eye allergy, as well as prescribe effective treatments.
True eye allergies are brought on by exposure to an allergen, which can be triggered by either inside or outside irritants. Eye allergies develop when the body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to something in the environment that typically causes no problem in most people. An allergic reaction can occur when that “something” comes in contact with antibodies attached to the mast cells in your eyes. The cells respond by releasing histamine and other substances or chemicals that cause tiny blood vessels to leak and the eyes to become itchy, red and watery. Indoor triggers include items such as pet dander, dust mites and mold, while outside allergens include pollen from grass, trees and weeds. Irritants such as smoke, perfume, car and truck exhaust, as well as diesel fumes, can also cause eye allergies.
Eye allergies share symptoms with some diseases of the eye, making accurate diagnosis by our optometrist in Las Vegas imperative. Diagnostic tests will include an examination with a microscope, which will typically show swollen blood vessels and inflammation of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the tissue that covers the surface of the eye and the inner lining of the eyelid. Depending on the severity of the allergy, there are many treatment options, ranging from over-the-counter eye drops to prescription medicines to calm the allergy. Identifying and avoiding the trigger allergens is a key part of the treatment. Don’t suffer from eye allergies; make an appointment to visit the office of Shannon Chandler, O.D. and Lesa Davis, O.D. for an evaluation.