What causes eye allergies

In rare cases, an allergy can lead to a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock, which can be life threatening.

This affects the whole body and usually develops within minutes of exposure to something you’re allergic to.

Signs of anaphylaxis include any of the symptoms above, as well as:

Anaphylaxis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.

Read more about anaphylaxis for information about what to do if it occurs.

Sheet final reviewed: 22 November 2018
Next review due: 22 November 2021

Itchy eyes, a congested nose, sneezing, wheezing and hives: these are symptoms of an allergic reaction caused when plants release pollen into the air, generally in the spring or drop.

Numerous people use hay fever as a colloquial term for these seasonal allergies and the inflammation of the nose and airways.

But hay fever is a misnomer, said Dr. Jordan Josephson, an ear, nose and throat doctor and sinus specialist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

«It is not an allergy to hay,» Josephson, author of the book «Sinus Relief Now» (Perigee Trade, 2006), told Live Science. «Rather, it is an allergy to weeds that pollinate.»

Doctors and researchers prefer the phrase allergic rhinitis to describe the condition.

More than 50 million people experience some type of allergy each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. In 2017, 8.1% of adults and 7.7% of children reported own allergic rhinitis symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Worldwide, between 10 and 30% of people are affected by allergic rhinitis, Josephson said.

In 2019, spring arrived early in some parts of the country and later in others, according to the National Phenology Network (NPN).

What causes eye allergies

Spring brings blooming plants and, for some, lots of sneezing, itchy, watery eyes and runny noses. According to NPN data, spring reared its head about two weeks early in areas of California, Nevada and numerous of the Southern and Southeastern states. Much of California, for example, is preparing for a brutal allergy season due to the large quantity of winter rain. On the other hand, spring ranged from about one to two weeks tardy in the Northwest, the Midwest and the Mid-Atlantic U.S.

[Watch a Massive ‘Pollen Cloud’ Explode from Late-Blooming Tree]


Symptoms

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis may at first feel love those of a freezing. But unlike a freezing that may incubate before causing discomfort, symptoms of allergies generally appear almost as soon as a person encounters an allergen, such as pollen or mold.

Symptoms include itchy eyes, ears, nose or throat, sneezing, irritability, nasal congestion and hoarseness.

People may also experience cough, postnasal drip, sinus pressure or headaches, decreased sense of smell, snoring, sleep apnea, fatigue and asthma, Josephson said. [Oral Allergy Syndrome: 6 Ways to Avoid an Itchy, Tingling Mouth]

Many of these symptoms are the immune system’s overreaction as it attempts to protect the vital and sensitive respiratory system from exterior invaders. The antibodies produced by the body hold the foreign invaders out, but also cause the symptoms characteristic of allergic responses.

People can develop hay fever at any age, but most people are diagnosed with the disorder in childhood or early adulthood, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Symptoms typically become less severe as people age.

Often, children may first experience food allergies and eczema, or itchy skin, before developing hay fever, Josephson said. «This then worsens over the years, and patients then develop allergies to indoor allergens love dust and animals, or seasonal rhinitis, love ragweed, grass pollen, molds and tree pollen.»

Hay fever can also lead to other medical conditions. People who are allergic to weeds are more likely to get other allergies and develop asthma as they age, Josephson said.

What causes eye allergies

But those who get immunotherapy, such as allergy shots that assist people’s bodies get used to allergens, are less likely to develop asthma, he said.


Tests & diagnosis

A physician will consider patient history and act out a thorough physical examination if a person reports having hay-fever-like symptoms. If necessary, the physician will do an allergy test. According to the Mayo Clinic, people can get a skin-prick test, in which doctors prick the skin on a person’s arm or upper back with diverse substances to see if any cause an allergic reaction, such as a raised bump called a hive.

[7 Strange Signs You’re Having an Allergic Reaction]

Blood tests for allergies are also available. This test rates the immune system’s response to a specific allergen by measuring the quantity of allergy-causing antibodies in the bloodstream, according to the Mayo Clinic.


Pollen count

How do scientists know how much pollen is in the air? They set a trap. The trap — generally a glass plate or rod coated with adhesive — is analyzed every few hours, and the number of particles collected is then averaged to reflect the particles that would pass through the area in any 24-hour period.

That measurement is converted to pollen per cubic meter. Mold counts work much the same way.

A pollen count is an imprecise measurement, scientists confess, and an arduous one — at the analysis stage, pollen grains are counted one by one under a microscope. It is also highly time-consuming to discern between types of pollen, so they are generally bundled into one variable. Given the imprecise nature of the measurement, entire daily pollen counts are often reported simply as low, moderate or high.

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology provides up-to-date pollen counts for U.S.

states.


Hay fever treatments

Dr. Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.

Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom.

Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.

Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips. [7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]

Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body.

What causes eye allergies

Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.

Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source. Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation. Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.

For kids, allergy medications are tricky.

A 2017 nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.

Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.

Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.

People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.

Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses. A 2015 review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut. Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms.

[5 Myths About Probiotics]

Additional resources:

This article was updated on April 30, 2019, by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.

How is allergic rhinitis treated?

It is useful to identify your triggers and attempt and avoid them. This can be difficult.

Pets: Make certain you hold it exterior and never let it in the bedroom. It is never simple trying to decide on a new home for a pet, but in some cases this might be the best option. Even after you own removed your pet from your home, the allergens remain in furnishings for endless periods afterwards and can cause symptoms.

You will need to thoroughly clean your walls, floors and carpets to remove the allergen.

Dust mites: Home dust mite reduction measures include mite-proof covers for the mattress, duvet and pillows. Removing items that collect dust from the bedroom will assist. A excellent quality vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter for the exhaust air is essential to ensure that allergen is not disseminated in the atmosphere. Bedding should be washed frequently in water hotter than 55ºC. If you own soft toys, freeze them overnight and air in the sun.

Pollen: It is hard to avoid pollen, however you can avoid going exterior when pollen counts are high.

The quantity of pollen in the air is highest:
• In the morning
• Outside
• On windy days
• After a thunderstorm

See our pollen calendar for more information.

What is the impact?

About 20 per cent of the general population suffers from rhinitis. Of these people, about one third develops problems before the age of 10.

The overall burden of allergic rhinitis is better understood when you consider that 50 per cent of patients experience symptoms for more than four months per year and that 20 per cent own symptoms for at least nine months per year.

Those affected by hay fever suffer more frequent and prolonged sinus infection, and for those who also own red, itchy eyes, there is the risk of developing infective conjunctivitis due to frequent rubbing.

Persistent symptoms and poor quality sleep can result in lethargy, poor concentration and behavioural changes and impact on learning in young children.
Allergic rhinitis may predispose people to obstructive sleep apnoea, due to the upper airways collapsing during sleep.

This results in reduced airflow, a drop in oxygen levels and disturbed sleep.

Patients with allergic rhinitis also suffer from more frequent and prolonged respiratory infections, and asthma has been shown to be more hard to control unless allergic rhinitis is also managed.

What is the link between allergic rhinitis and asthma?

Allergic rhinitis has been found to be an extremely common trigger for asthma in both children and adults.

Allergic rhinitis can also exacerbate asthma, and it can make the diagnosis of asthma more difficult.

Around 80 per cent of people with asthma suffer from allergic rhinitis, and around one in four with allergic rhinitis has asthma.

There is now extremely excellent evidence to support the thought that asthmatics who glance after their upper airways well need less asthma medication and fewer hospital or GP visits.

When treating both asthma and allergic rhinitis, the first step is to discover out the cause of your problem.

Once the causes own been identified, management regimes can be put into put to minimise the impact of the allergy, and this then reduces the need for medication.

How do you diagnose allergic rhinitis?

Your doctor will confirm the specific allergens causing your rhinitis by taking a finish symptom history, doing a physical examination, and performing skin prick tests.

What causes allergic rhinitis?

The most common triggers for people with allergic rhinitis are pollen, dust mite, pet and mould allergens.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever) is generally triggered by wind-borne pollen from trees, grass and weeds.

Early spring symptoms point to tree pollen, while nasal allergy in tardy spring and summer indicates that grass and weed pollens are the culprits. And overlapping the grass season is the weed pollen season, which generally starts in tardy spring and extends through to the finish of summer.

In New Zealand the seasons are not extremely distinct and they vary throughout the country because of the diverse climates.

The season starts about one month earlier at the top of the North Island than the bottom of the South Island. Thus the hay fever season is not extremely well defined.

Allergic rhinitis that persists year-round (perennial allergic rhinitis) is generally caused by home dust mites, pets, or mould. People with allergic rhinitis are often allergic to more than one allergen, such as dust mite and pollen, so may suffer from symptoms for months on finish or every year round.

Irritants such as strong perfumes and tobacco smoke can aggravate this condition.

Foods do not frolic as large a role as had been thought in the past.

Hay fever treatments

Dr.

Sarita Patil, an allergist with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Allergy Associates in Boston, talked to Live Science about strategies for outdoor lovers with seasonal allergies.

Patil suggested figuring out exactly what type of pollen you’re allergic to, and then avoiding planning outdoor activities during peak pollinating times in the months when those plants are in bloom. Numerous grasses, for example, typically pollinate in tardy spring and early summer and release most of their spores in the afternoon and early evening.

Her other strategies: Be capable to identify the pollen perpetrator by sight; monitor pollen counts before scheduling outdoor time; go exterior at a time of day when the plants that make you go achoo are not pollinating; and wear protective gear love sunglasses, among other tips.

What causes eye allergies

[7 Strategies for Outdoor Lovers with Seasonal Allergies]

Allergy sufferers may also select to combat symptoms with medication designed to shut below or trick the immune sensitivity in the body. Whether over-the-counter or prescription, most allergy pills work by releasing chemicals into the body that bind naturally to histamine — the protein that reacts to the allergen and causes an immune response — negating the protein’s effect.

Other allergy remedies attack the symptoms at the source.

Nasal sprays contain athletic ingredients that decongest by soothing irritated blood vessels in the nose, while eye drops both moisturize and reduce inflammation. Doctors may also prescribe allergy shots, Josephson said.

For kids, allergy medications are tricky. A 2017 nationally representative poll of parents with kids between ages 6 and 12 found that 21% of parents said they had trouble figuring out the correct dose of allergy meds for their child; 15% of parents gave a kid an adult form of the allergy medicine, and 33% of these parents also gave their kid the adult dose of that medicine.

Doctors may also recommend allergy shots, a neti pot that can rinse the sinuses, or a Grossan Hydropulse — an irrigating system that cleans the nose of pollens, infection and environmental irritants, Josephson said.

Alternative and holistic options, along with acupuncture, may also assist people with hay fever, Josephson said.

People can also avoid pollen by keeping their windows closed in the spring, and by using air purifiers and air conditioners at home.

Probiotics may also be helpful in stopping those itchy eyes and runny noses. A 2015 review published in the journal International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology found that people who suffer from hay fever may benefit from using probiotics, or «good bacteria,» thought to promote a healthy gut. Although the jury is still out on whether probiotics are an effective treatment for seasonal allergies, the researchers noted that these gut bacteria could hold the body’s immune system from flaring up in response to allergens — something that could reduce allergy symptoms.

[5 Myths About Probiotics]

Additional resources:

This article was updated on April 30, 2019, by Live Science Contributor Rachel Ross.

What is allergic rhinitis?

Hay fever is the common name to describe allergic rhinitis and involves a recurrent runny, stuffy, itchy nose, and frequent sneezing. It can also affect your eyes, sinuses, throat and ears.

Love any other allergy, allergic rhinitis is an inappropriate immune system response to an allergen – most commonly home dust mite, pet, pollen and mould.

The allergen comes into contact with the sensitive, moist lining in your nose and sinuses and sets off the allergic response.

Hay fever is often considered a nuisance rather than a major disease and most people will self-treat. However, recent studies own revealed that hay fever has a huge impact on quality of life.

When does allergic rhinitis develop?

Allergic rhinitis typically develops in childhood. It is part of what we call the Allergic March, where children first develop eczema in infancy, sometimes followed by food allergy, and then go on to develop allergic rhinitis and then asthma.

The onset of dust mite allergy occurs often by the age of two, with grass pollen allergy beginning around three to four years of age.

Tree pollen allergy develops from about seven years of age.

It is not unusual to develop hay fever during adulthood. It can take as few as two to three seasons to become sensitised to pollen, but it depends on the individual.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis can be any combination of itching in the back of the throat, eyes or nose, sneezing, runny eyes or nose, and blocked nose.

A person may own any or every of the following:

  1. nasal voice because of blocked nasal passages
  2. reddened, pebbly lining in the lower eyelids
  3. breathing through the mouth
  4. chronic freezing without much fever
  5. rabbit-like movements of the nose
  6. snoring
  7. frequent earaches, fullness in the ear, ear infections or hearing loss
  8. frequent throat-clearing
  9. headaches because of pressure from inside the nose
  10. a horizontal crease across the nose as a result of constant rubbing
  11. stuffy nose every the time or during specific seasons
  12. dizziness or nausea related to ear problems
  13. watery discharge from the nose every the time, occasionally or during certain seasons of the year
  14. bouts of sneezing, especially in the morning
  15. repeated nosebleeds
  16. dark circles under the eyes as a result of pressure from blocked nasal passages on the little blood vessels.

    Also known as "allergic shiners".

Medication

Non-sedating antihistamine tablets or liquid are useful in alleviating some of the symptoms of rhinitis. They are helpful in controlling sneezing, itching and a runny nose, but are ineffective in relieving nasal blockage. They can be used alone or in combination with other medications, such as nasal sprays.

Corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory) nasal sprays reduce the inflammation in the lining of the nose. They work best when used in a preventative manner, just love preventers for asthma.

What causes eye allergies

For example, they may be used for weeks or months at a time during an allergy season. Enquire your doctor about the appropriate medication for your condition.

Decongestant nasal sprays can be used to unblock the nose, but should not be used for more than a few days at a time.

What causes eye allergies

Prolonged use may result in worsening of the nasal congestion.

Eye drops: The eye problems that sometimes happen with allergic rhinitis may not always reply to the above medications. Eye drops containing decongestants alone or in combination with antihistamine are available for mild to moderate eye problems. Eye irritation is one side effect. Prolonged use of decongestant eye drops can also cause rebound worsening when stopped. Some brands of eye drops can be used preventatively and are safe to use for prolonged periods — enquire your doctor for more specific information.

Saline washes may assist to clear your nose and soothe the lining of your nose.

These are available from most pharmacies.

Desensitisation, or immunotherapy, is used to 'turn off' the abnormal response of the immune system to an allergen if medication does not work. It is mainly used to relieve the symptoms of hay fever and allergic asthma to pollen, mould, home dust mite and pet allergen, as well as to control severe reactions to insect stings.

To start, a extremely dilute dose of the substance you are allergic to is istered by injection once or twice a week. This dose is gradually built up over three to four months on average, until a maintenance dose is achieved.

Shots are then given monthly for at least three years.

This method of treatment is the only one that deals with the underlying cause of allergic rhinitis. Not everyone benefits from treatment, however the vast majority of patients show at least some degree of improvement. Enquire your allergy specialist about whether you are a excellent candidate for immunotherapy.

Sublingual immunotherapy is another method, where drops of the allergen solution are taken under the tongue. It is not widely used exterior of Europe.

This information is available as a fact sheet.


December 2008

This fact sheet is based on information available at the time of going to print but may be subject to change.

It is significant to remember that we are every diverse and individual cases require individual medical attention.

What causes eye allergies

Please be guided by your GP or specialist.

Acknowledgments: We would love to Associate Professor Rohan Ameratunga, Clinical Immunologist, Auckland Hospital, for assistance in writing this information. This fact sheet is also based on information provided by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and the National Asthma Council Australia.

Eye Allergies

People with eye allergies typically own symptoms that include:

  1. Dry eyes
  2. Itchy watery eyes
  3. Eyelid problems
  4. Dark circles around eyes
  5. Reactions to Contacts

Let us assist permit you to see and glance better!


Common allergens

The most common allergen is pollen, a powder released by trees, grasses and weeds that fertilize the seeds of neighboring plants.

As plants rely on the wind to do the work for them, the pollination season sees billions of microscopic particles fill the air, and some of them finish up in people’s noses and mouths.

Spring bloomers include ash, birch, cedar, elm and maple trees, plus numerous species of grass. Weeds pollinate in the tardy summer and drop, with ragweed being the most volatile.

The pollen that sits on brightly colored flowers is rarely responsible for hay fever because it is heavier and falls to the ground rather than becoming airborne. Bees and other insects carry flower pollen from one flower to the next without ever bothering human noses.

Mold allergies are diverse.

Mold is a spore that grows on rotting logs, dead leaves and grasses. While dry-weather mold species exist, numerous types of mold thrive in moist, rainy conditions, and release their spores overnight. During both the spring and drop allergy seasons, pollen is released mainly in the morning hours and travels best on dry, warm and breezy days.


Main allergy symptoms

Common symptoms of an allergic reaction include:

  1. tummy pain, feeling ill, vomiting or diarrhoea
  2. itchy, red, watering eyes (conjunctivitis)
  3. wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and a cough
  4. swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face
  5. sneezing and an itchy, runny or blocked nose (allergic rhinitis)
  6. a raised, itchy, red rash (hives)
  7. dry, red and cracked skin

The symptoms vary depending on what you’re allergic to and how you come into contact with it.

What causes eye allergies

For example, you may have a runny nose if exposed to pollen, develop a rash if you own a skin allergy, or feel sick if you eat something you’re allergic to.

See your GP if you or your kid might own had an allergic reaction to something. They can assist determine whether the symptoms are caused by an allergy or another condition.

Read more about diagnosing allergies.


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