Seasonal allergies occur when the body's immune system reacts to external material in the environment during spring and fall periods when plants and trees are pollinating. Seasonal allergies have a tremendous effect on millions of individuals annually, causing a negative effect on eyesight: the eyes become itchy, watery, and red. In medical terms, this syndrome is known as "allergic conjunctivitis."
Outside of seasonal allergies, many other allergens, including dust, pollen, and smoke, can make our eyes itch and turn red. These allergens, however, vary from one person to another. For example, while dust can cause itchy eyes for me, it might not be the same for you as it all depends on our individual immune systems and the way they react against such substances.
When the eye comes in contact with material it regards as a dangerous substance, it elicits a chemical response to fight against the allergen; this is what leads to the itchiness, redness, and soreness in the eyes.
As we mentioned earlier, allergens affect people differently, but there are general ways in which everyone reacts. You would know an individual is suffering from allergies through the following symptoms.
Since the eyes perceive substances like dust, smoke, and pollen as harmful to the normal conditioning of the eyes, there is an automatic release of water in order to clean the eyes, which is a defense mechanism against these foreign items.
After the entry of these foreign items, it is very natural to feel itchy and want to scratch the affected eyes. As a result of the scratching, the skin covering the eyes can become swollen due to continuous friction.
Dry eyes occur primarily during the winter season, not because of allergens like dust or pollen, but whenever there is extreme cold or snow. This weather causes the eyes to become dry, which leads to soreness and redness.
Allergens are carried by the air and can end up in your eyes at any time. A reaction to these allergens causes your eyes to feel irritated from the inside and creates the urge to scratch them in an attempt to provide some relief.
Redness of the eyes is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as itchy eyes, which cause the eyes to become swollen and very red. Capillaries inside the eyes can also become red during an allergic reaction.
It is nearly impossible to prevent allergens because they are carried around by air. They are all around us! There are, however, some actions you can take to help reduce your chances of exposure to allergens. One of the first precautions is to remain indoors on windy days since more allergens are swirling around at a faster pace. If it is necessary to go out, wear a pair of sunglasses that provide adequate eye coverage. Furthermore, wearing pollen masks and/or sunglasses when working in the yard can help to prevent allergens from blowing into your eyes.
Whenever you are suffering from allergies, stay hydrated, use any doctor-recommended eye drops you may have to help reduce irritation, and if you use contact lenses, switch to a pair of glasses to add extra protection as well as prevent further eye discomfort. Finally, try as much as possible to avoid scratching your eyes to prevent any additional complications.