My Eyes Are Red and Itchy. Could it be an Eye Allergy?

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Do you wake up in the morning to discover swollen or itchy eyes? Do your eyes feel watery, or are they more sensitive to light than normal? If so, you may have an eye allergy. Allergies are completely natural but lead to severe discomfort for many people.

When your eyes are exposed to certain stimuli, like pollen, dust, or pet dander, they become irritated and inflamed. Luckily, board-certified ophthalmologist Dr. Daniel Tepper at Wickerpark Eye Center offers the latest in diagnostic technology to identify your specific triggers. We also help patients in Chicago, IL find relief from watery eyes through allergy shots. If you think you're suffering from any of these symptoms, call our clinic to schedule an eye exam or read below to learn more.

What causes eye allergies?

Eye allergies are caused by an immune system response when we encounter airborne allergens, like pollen, dust, mold, or animal dander. Your body considers these elements to be harmful and tells your immune system to attack them. Unfortunately, this is what leads to watery eyes, redness, swelling, and inflammation. These symptoms (along with blurry vision and sensitivity to light) can make it difficult to function at home and work.

Sometimes, non-airborne substances can trigger eye allergies. For example, contact lenses or certain cosmetics can cause red and itchy eyes. Patients who suspect this is the case should temporarily switch to a pair of glasses and find another makeup brand until they can meet with an eye specialist. Wickerpark Eye Center can help you pinpoint your specific allergens through advanced allergy testing.

How is an allergy test performed?

Dr. Tepper will perform an eye exam in Chicago, IL to check for signs of redness, swelling, and other known signs of an allergic reaction. If we feel it's necessary, we can perform a simple skin prick test to see if your eye allergies are caused by pet dander, mold, dust mites, or other triggers. The skin prick test involves pricking your skin with a needle containing an extract of different allergens. The skin is then inspected for any redness or irritation.

How do you treat allergies?

Our team can recommend a form of immunotherapy based on your eye allergy causes and symptoms. For instance, allergy shots consist of a serum containing small doses of the allergen. Over time, patients build a natural resistance to the substances that cause them discomfort. We can also recommend ways to avoid your known triggers in the future.

What happens if my allergies go untreated?

Blurry or watery eyes can make it difficult to perform tasks in your daily routine. While it seems like allergy symptoms do not pose a serious health risk, your eyes can still be damaged over time. Left untreated, allergy symptoms lead to chronic inflammation. Your corneas could become injured or scarred. It's also important to note that untreated allergies often result in secondary infections, like styes or pink eye.

Find relief from eye allergies

If you’ve been experiencing red and itchy eyes, there’s a pretty good chance you have an eye allergy. Dr. Daniel Tepper at Wickerpark Eye Center can diagnose your condition and recommend the best ways to move forward. For example, a skin prick test is likely the best way to understand the source of your issues, while allergy shots can improve your symptoms. Learn more about triggers and treatment options in Chicago, IL and the greater surrounding area by giving us a call today.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.