Have you ever had swollen eyes before? If yes, you probably already know that allergies or other conditions can cause them. You might not realize that you can get relief from these symptoms without having to go through expensive eye drops or even surgery.
The eyes are often overlooked for health issues, but they are very important organs. They provide us with vision, and they also regulate our body temperature. In addition, they are responsible for protecting our internal organs.
Allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens. This causes inflammation and swelling of the eyes. There are several ways to treat this condition, such as using antihistamines, corticosteroids, and antibiotics. An allergist can prescribe medications to reduce inflammation and relieve discomfort.
Causes of Swollen Eyes
Common triggers of allergic conjunctivitis include pollen, grasses, trees, ragweed, insect bites, dust mites, animal dander, mold spores, and cigarette smoke. The best way to prevent this type of allergy attack is to avoid exposure to the allergen. You should also wash your hands after touching any possible contact point if you have come into prolonged contact with them.
Symptoms of Swollen Eyes
When you have allergy-related inflamed eyes, you might experience the following symptoms.
1. Watery Eyes – These occur because your glands produce more tears than usual. However, if the cause is allergies, there could be increased mucus production to help clear away the allergens.
2. Itchy Eyes – Mucous membranes will swell up and become irritated. Itching can range from mild to severe depending on how much the inflammation has spread.
3. Sore Lids – Usually, people with allergic conjunctivitis complain about sore lids. They feel like they are being pinched closed.
4. Foreign Body Sensation – Some people experience dizziness or headache while looking at bright lights. Your eyesight will continue to worsen until the inflammation goes down.
5. Blurred Vision – As mentioned previously, if your eyes are severely inflamed, they may appear cloudy or blurry. When this happens, you may notice spots, circles, lines, blobs, etc., in front of you.
6. Dry Eyes – Sometimes, the tissues inside the eyes become dry, causing you to blink more frequently.
7. Red Eye – Although this doesn’t apply to allergic conjunctivitis, sometimes red eyes happen during hay fever season because of irritants in the air (hay).
8. Painful Burning/Stinging Sensations – When allergies flare-up, you may develop tingling or pain in your eyes.
Treating Swollen Eyes
Since dry air aggravates the condition, make sure you moisturize your eyes throughout the day. Use cold compresses instead of hot ones, so you don’t further damage the tissue inside your eyes. If the condition persists, schedule a visit with an eye doctor. He’ll want to rule out any infections.
If your doctor prescribes steroids, use only half the dose first and closely monitor your reaction. Don’t try to self-treat unless your doctor tells you to do so. Don’t give yourself stronger doses if you start feeling worse, as you might end up putting your health in danger.
For instance, you shouldn’t take prescription steroid eye drops at home since they are too strong. If you’re taking them regularly, it’s better to consult your physician before stopping treatment.
If allergic conjunctivitis does not respond to topical medications and antibiotics, you need to see an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a specialist who diagnoses and treats diseases affecting the eye(s), including glaucoma and cataracts.
While your eye doctor can treat most conditions related to the eyes with eye drops, they may suggest other solutions for you in cases where other treatments aren’t effective.
For example, patients with giant papillary conjunctivitis often require surgery to remove the underlying source of infection.
How to prevent Swollen Eyes
1. Stay indoors – It’s better to stay inside and away from potential sources of allergens such as pet dander, grass, and pollen. If you must go outside, make sure you wear sunglasses and bring along some medication with you to help relieve your symptoms.
2. Wash frequently – Remove your makeup at least two hours before going out since excessive makeup products could irritate. When washing your face, use lukewarm water and run it gently across your eyes until it feels comfortable.
3. Use lubricants – Make sure you keep a bottle of lubricant handy, so you can apply it whenever needed.
4. Avoid irritating substances – Some common irritants include detergents, alcohol based hand sanitizers, perfumes, scented toiletries, and certain cosmetics. Try to refrain from applying those things near your eyes because they could trigger an allergic reaction.
5. Don’t rub your eyes – Rubbing your eyes is one of the causes of irritated eyes. Instead, rinse your eyes clean and pat them dry.
6. Limit caffeine consumption – Caffeine has been linked to allergic conjunctivitis. Since coffee acts as an antioxidant agent, try drinking green tea instead. Green tea provides many health benefits, including relieving constipation, preventing cancer, and reducing blood pressure.
7. Go for an allergy test -If you think you might suffer from allergies or asthma, consider visiting your doctor for a medical examination. They will check whether you have any food intolerances and then order laboratory tests to determine how serious your problem is.
When to Visit a Doctor
Allergic conjunctivitis is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. You may sometimes feel like avoiding seeing a doctor because nothing seems to work for you. However, it’s always best to visit a doctor even when there’s no sign of swelling or redness.
That way, a diagnosis can be made without further delay. For more details about the swollen eye, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us right away. Our staffs are ready to assist you in any way we possibly can.