Eye allergies caused by hay fever, pet dander or dust mites can have a real impact on quality of life, with unpleasant symptoms of sneezing, watery eyes and a runny nose. Millions of adults and children are affected every year – if you’re one of them, read our advice to learn more about the condition and how to manage it.
Symptoms of hay fever and eye allergies
In addition to having symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing and congestion, the most common symptoms affecting the eyes include:
- excess tearing
- sticky white discharge
Anyone can experience these symptoms, but the severity during pollen allergy seasons can bring more allergen sensitivity.
Causes of eye allergies
An allergic reaction can be trigged by a number of different types of allergens. On contact with the allergen, tissues in the nose and eyes recognise it as foreign and produce histamine or leukotrienes, which can cause an allergic response.
Hay fever is one type of allergy and is typically a seasonal reaction to airborne triggers – the most common of which are grass pollen, tree pollen and weed pollen. Grass pollen is produced mostly from mid-May to July, while tree pollen is produced between late March and mid-May. These can trigger the release of histamine, which can cause eyes to become irritated. Some people may find symptoms get worse during specific pollen seasons, typically the spring and summer months.
Allergies can also be caused by year-round airborne triggers such as pet dander (the equivalent of pet ‘dandruff’), house dust and mould.
There are also non-allergic causes, including certain cosmetics, perfumes and cigarettes.
Treating eye allergies
If you’re suffering from the effects of an eye allergy, there are lots of different options available to help treat your symptoms.
An eye bath is a great way to refresh eyes after being outside. Try cleansing eyes with Vizulize Eye Wash. Its gentle formula washes away irritants like pollen, dust, grit, and smoke to leave eyes feeling soothed.
If preventative measures you’ve taken aren’t helping, try using a specialist eye care product. At Vizulize, we’ve developed specific products designed to help soothe symptoms of allergies, featuring natural plant extracts of calendula and witch hazel to provide long-lasting relief:
- Vizulize Irritated Eye Drops – specially developed to soothe and relieve symptoms of hay fever, dust, pollution and more
- Vizulize Irritated Eye Spray – ideal for those who find drops difficult or inconvenient to use, this fine mist can be sprayed onto closed eyes and comes in a small, convenient size to carry with you
Vizulize products are specially formulated to be pH balanced to the eye’s tear fluid, so won’t sting on application. They are also contact lens friendly and can be used without the need to remove lenses.
You could also try using Sodium Cromoglicate eye drops (as directed by your pharmacist or doctor), which prevent mast cells from releasing histamine.
Preventing hay fever and allergic reactions
The best way to prevent the condition and associated symptoms is to avoid or minimise exposure to the cause of the allergic reaction. Taking any recommended anti-allergy medication may also help prevent symptoms – always follow the instructions from your pharmacist or doctor.
Being informed about the pollen count is the best way to be prepared ahead of time and plan your day – but there are other precautions you can take, both at home and outdoors:
- keep home windows and doors closed – even at night
- avoid fresh flowers in the house
- consider using anti-allergy pillows and duvets
- avoid walking in grassy, woodland areas
- avoid mowing the lawn if possible (if not wear sunglasses to protect eyes)
- keep car windows shut
- shower and change clothes after being outside to remove pollen
For more tips, read our advice on managing hay fever.
Dust and pet allergies
Managing this type of allergy tends to involve keeping on top of chores and general home maintenance. To minimise symptoms, try the following:
- vacuum carpets and furnishings regularly
- where possible, choose hard wood or laminate flooring which tends to trap less harmful particles than carpets
- dust with a damp cloth
- wash bedding regularly and consider using anti-allergy pillows and duvets
- try to keep away from animals as much as possible
- keep pets out of bedrooms
- wash pets regularly
Consult your doctor for further advice. They will recognise your symptoms and may even prescribe antihistamines or corticosteroids.
A simple alternative to eye drops that soothes and relieves irritated, itchy eyes.