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Dr. Michael McQuillan, OD

Michael McQuillan, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.
“The Irish Eye Doctor”

Dr. Michael McQuillan, OD

” Michael McQuillan, O.D., F.C.O.V.D.
“The Irish Eye Doctor”

Dr. Michael McQuillan, OD

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761 E Daily Dr #120, Camarillo, CA 93010

Should I Be Worried About Eye Allergies?

March 25, 2022

If you suffer from the itchy, burning, stinging effects of eye allergies, you’re not alone. As much as 29 percent of Americans experience eye allergies, let alone other forms of allergy. While this condition isn’t an immediate threat to the health of your eyes, when not treated properly, more serious problems can develop down the down. Read on as an Oxnard, CA optometrist discusses eye allergies and ways to keep them from getting worse. 

Allergies – What Are They and What Causes Them?

Allergy symptoms happen when your immune system mistakenly reacts to a substance that poses no real threat to the body. These substances are known as allergens. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Perfumes
  • Household chemicals
  • Animal dander
  • Weeds
  • Cigarette smoke
  • Grass
  • Cosmetics
  • Contact lenses

Your immune system reacts by triggering mast cells to release histamines to attack the irritant. Since the irritant poses no real threat, the histamines end up attacking your body’s own cells instead.

Eye Allergy Symptoms

When your eyes come into contact with an allergen, the histamine reaction causes inflammation to develop inside the eyelids or along the clear skin layer that borders the front of your eyes.

Eye allergy symptoms may take the form of:

  • Itchy eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurry vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Feeling like something is in your eye
  • Burning or stinging
  • Dry eyes
  • Redness
  • Gritty feeling

Complications  

The itchiness and watering that eye allergies bring on make it hard not to touch or rub your eyes. While rubbing may seem to relieve itchiness for the moment, it actually causes the mast cells in your eyes to release more histamines, making the problem worse.

Touching or rubbing your eyes also exposes them to bacteria, which can lead to infection. When left untreated, infection can damage your retina and/or scar your cornea. Before long, these effects will start to impair your vision. 

Treatment Considerations

Over-the-counter remedies, such as eye drops, can offer temporary relief from allergy symptoms, however, if you experience severe, ongoing symptoms, it’s best to seek out a more long-term solution. 

The first thing you may want to consider is getting an eye exam from an optometrist. Once an optometrist pinpoints what’s causing your allergic reactions, he or she can administer immunotherapy or corticosteroid injections to help stabilize your immune system response.

If you have more questions about eye allergies or wish to schedule an eye exam, please feel free to call our Oxnard, CA optometry office today. 

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