An “allergy” may be defined as “an adverse immunological reaction to a substance that normally does not produce such a reaction.” Adverse reactions to things like pollen, mold spores and pet dander (called “allergens”), are allergies because most people are not bothered by them. An adverse reaction to cigarette smoke or bee stings is not technically an allergy because nearly everybody reacts to them.
The eye’s first line of defense against allergies and other irritants is the complex and extremely thin tear film that covers the eyes’ exposed surface. The tear film is 99% water. The remainder of the tear film consists of salt, proteins, antibodies, lipids, etc.
Factors such as air pollution, dry air, heat, wind, forced air heating and cooling and even stress can cause your tear film to lose water. If you happen to be sensitive to allergens such as pollen, the reaction will be more severe if your tear film is too dry and not functioning at full capacity. It is common knowledge among specialists that allergy eye (especially pollen allergies) is worse in hot, dry weather and better in cool, humid weather when it is easier to maintain the tear film’s natural moisture balance.
Standard eye drops may be ineffective against allergy eye because the large drops can wash away the natural tear film, including the evaporation-slowing lipid layer. Also, chemicals in these products can create their own adverse or allergic reactions.
Allergy Eye and Dry Eye Symptoms.
Itching, redness, blurred vision, burning, eyelid swelling or redness, excessive tearing, grainy feeling, eye strain, fatigue, heavy eyelids, and light sensitivity are some allergy eye and dry eye symptoms.
Reducing allergens/minimizing symptoms.
- Stay indoors when the pollen count is at its peak, especially in mid-morning and early evening.
- Keep windows closed and use air-conditioning during peak allergy seasons.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses outdoors during peak seasons.
- Allergy-proof your home; put dust-mite-proof covers on bedding and pillows; clean surfaces with a damp mop, rag, or shampooer rather than dry sweeping or dusting.
- Keep pets outdoors as much as possible if you have pet allergies.
- Reduce molds by keeping indoor humidity moderate. Shoot for 40% to 50% relative humidity at 70 degrees.
- Remove contact lenses as soon as symptoms appear.
- Cold compresses on the eyes.
- Oral antihistamines (may cause drowsiness).
- Eye drops and redness relievers.
- See your doctor about mast cell stabilizers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories and immunotherapy.
Maintaining tear film health.
- Put bowls of water in your house, especially when heater or air conditioner is on.
- Take frequent long, luxuriant baths and/or showers.
- Let as much fresh air into the house as you can, especially the bathroom.
- Apply a pure-water mist before and after facial cleansing and any time eyes or face feel dry and/or uncomfortable.
© 2010 Bio-Logic Aqua Research