Can Allergies Cause Eye Pain?

The most straightforward answer to can allergies causes eye pain is you bet it can and how!

For many, myself included, the hay fever season is already in full swing. Millions of people across the world are checking the pollen count every day with trepidation, stocking up on a variety of tablets, drops, sprays (and tissues, of course!) and praying that the people they interact with won’t think that they have something that is catching!

However, when it comes to talking about pain, I must point out that different people experience pain in different ways. Some are more sensitive and will describe the discomfort as pain, while others have a higher ‘pain threshold’ and will only use the term pain when talking about extreme pain.

hay fever allergies trigger eye stressMost people describe the feeling of an eye allergy as one or many of the following: extreme discomfort, itchiness, burning, stinging, red, swollen and watery eyes.

If the pain you are feeling in your eyes is a deep or intense pain or you are not normally prone to getting allergic reactions, the best advice I can give you is to get someone professional to have a look.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is the medical term for a regular eye allergy. The conjunctiva is a transparent membrane that covers the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. When a person has an allergic reaction in their eye, it is usually the conjunctiva that is being affected, and it will normally get red, itchy, bumpy and swollen.

A person may get seasonal allergic conjunctivitis which means that it happens at certain times of the year, e.g., hay fever season, or it may be a regular daily occurrence. It really depends on what allergens affect the person and when they are exposed to them.

If you would like to know more about what an ‘allergen’ is and what is actually going on when you have an allergic reaction, like wearing unsanitized, colored Freshlook lenses might trigger the reaction.

In general, someone with an eye allergy will probably be reacting to something airborne, e.g., pollen from flowers, grass and trees, hair or feathers from animals, dust mites, mold, smoke, pollution, and even some perfumes. Occasionally the allergy can occur as a result of something that has been placed in contact or near to the eye, e.g., make-up, eye drops, and contact lens solutions for Biofinity extended wear contacts.

Is Oral Treatment Enough?

Expired tabletsIf the tablets look as old as this – don’t take them!

Most people who suffer from hay fever or regular allergies use an antihistamine tablet like Cetirizine (Zyrtec is the most common trade name) Loratadine (sometimes called Claritin) or Acrivastine (marketed in the UK as Benadryl and in the US as Semprex). These antihistamines are sometimes also available together with a decongestant like Pseudoephedrine which constricts the small blood vessels of the nose, throat, and sinuses thereby reducing inflammation.

Whenever buying ‘over-the-counter’ medicines, don’t forget to check the accompanying leaflet to make sure that it is ok for someone of your age or someone in your current situation (e.g., pregnancy) and to ensure that it does not react badly with other medication you are taking!!!

Sometimes this is enough to deal with the eye symptoms too. However, if you are like me, you will find that while the antihistamine tablet helps with your runny nose, it is just not good enough for your streaming eyes! If this is the case with you, you are probably desperate for good, straightforward solutions to your problem.

How can we help?

Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring the different causes of eye allergies, the different treatments and remedies on the market and some simple ways to soothe the irritation. I will try and dig behind the trade names to understand how different medications work and how they should be taken. So, make sure you keep coming back to read the latest posts, I’m sure you will find some really relevant information!

How can you help?

You, the reader, are an integral part of turning this blog from the ramblings of an optometrist with allergies, to the massive eye health site that I know it can be! I would love to hear from you how allergies affect your eyes and what you have done about it, what worked and what didn’t work. Please feel free to share any relevant information or questions you have about this topic in the comments section below as well as any other issues you would love to know more about.

And of course, please share this page with all other hay fever sufferers out there!

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