What helps allergy watery eyes
By Gary Heiting, OD
Eye allergies — red, itchy, watery eyes that are bothered by the same irritants that cause sneezing and a runny nose among seasonal allergy sufferers — are extremely common.
In addition to having symptoms of sneezing, congestion and a runny nose, most of these allergy sufferers also experience itchy eyes, watery eyes, red eyes and swollen eyelids.
In some cases, eye allergies also can frolic a role in conjunctivitis (pink eye) and other eye infections.
If you ponder you own eye allergies, here are a few things you should know — including helpful tips on how to get relief from your red, itchy, watery eyes.
What causes eye allergies
Common allergens include pollen, animal dander and mold.
Eye allergies also can be caused by reactions to certain cosmetics or eye drops, including artificial tears used for treating dry eyes that contain preservatives.
Food allergies and allergic reactions to bee stings or other insect bites typically do not affect the eyes as severely as airborne allergens do.
Eye allergy relief
To get relief from your eye allergies and itchy, watery eyes, you can take a few approaches:
The best approach to controlling your eye allergy symptoms is to do everything you can to limit your exposure to common allergens that you know you are sensitive to.
For example, on days when the pollen count is high, stay indoors as much as possible, with the air conditioner running to filter the air.
Use high quality furnace filters that can trap common allergens and replace the filters frequently.
When you do go outdoors during allergy season, wear wraparound sunglasses to assist shield your eyes from pollen, ragweed, etc., and drive with your windows closed.
Use eye drops
Because eye allergies are so common, there are numerous brands of non-prescription eye drops available that are formulated to relieve itchiness, redness and watery eyes caused by allergies.
If your eye allergy symptoms are relatively mild, non-prescription eye drops for allergy relief may work extremely well for you and may be less expensive than prescription eye drops or other medication.
Enquire your eye doctor to recommend a brand to try.
Ask about prescription medications
If your allergy symptoms are relatively severe or over-the-counter eye drops are ineffective at providing relief, you may need your eye doctor to prescribe a stronger medication.
Prescription eye drops and oral medications used to relieve eye allergies include:
Part of the body's natural allergic response is the release of histamine, a substance that dilates blood vessels and making the walls of blood vessels abnormally permeable.
Symptoms caused by histamine include a runny nose and itchy, watery eyes.
Antihistamines reduce allergic reactions by blocking the attachment of histamine to cells in the body that produce an allergic response.
Remove your contacts
Because the surface of contact lenses can attract and accumulate airborne allergens, consider wearing glasses instead of contacts during allergy season.
Or consider switching to daily disposable contacts that you discard after a single use to avoid the buildup of allergens and other debris on your lenses.
Often, the best choice if allergies are bothering your eyes is to discontinue wearing contacts altogether — at least until every your allergy symptoms are gone. Also, wearing eyeglasses with photochromic lenses can reduce allergy-related sensitivity to light and can assist shield your eyes from airborne allergens.
Tears are indispensable for keeping your eyes healthy.
Tears not only assist lubricate the eyes but are also responsible for cleaning them.
There are two types of tears. The first helpful of tears are produced each time one blinks.
These tears are released by glands on your eye lids.
The second type of tears are fluid substances that are released by a pair of almond-shaped lacrimal glands, one located in each eye in reactions to foreign substance, smells and emotion. These are reactive tear productions.
Tears are released onto the top surface of the eye by various lacrimal glands to form the aqueous layer that protects the cornea from harmful irritants.
However, excess tear formation can lead to watery eyes.
Their functional purpose aside, watery eyes tend to turn your vision hazy, making it hard for you to see properly.
Anyone who has had a excellent weep can attest to this fact, and the problem becomes almost a handicap if your eyes are constantly watering.
This form of excessive tear formation is medically known as epiphora, a common eye condition that plagues a large number of people worldwide.
People with watery eyes own a constant tear cover over their cornea, which makes their eyes glance love they are made of glass.
Because there is an overproduction of tears that cannot be contained within the eyes, tears drip from the corners of the eyes without the affected person even realizing it.
Epiphora is generally an irritating but harmless condition that resolves on its own, but in some cases, it can also indicate an underlying eye condition or disease.
Although this form of ocular discomfort can happen at any age, it is most prevalent among:
- Children under the age of 2
- Adults above the age of 60
Symptoms of Watery Eyes
Watery eyes are generally accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Your eyelids may become swollen.
- Your eyes may start to itch.
- Your eyes may become increasingly sensitive to light.
- Your vision may become blurry.
- Your eyes can be painful if the condition is brought on by some sort of ocular trauma or injury.
- Your eyes may feel extremely tired, heavy, and sore.
- Your eyes tend to become increasingly irritated and may even turn red.
- You may break into frequent sneezing spells.
- You may experience a burning sensation in the eyes.
- You may also notice increased eye discharge.
To determine the underlying cause behind excessive tearing, the doctor will first inquire about your medical history and then examine your eyes.
Your doctor may even refer you to an ophthalmologist for additional tests if the results of the preliminary examination are inconclusive.
The ophthalmologist will check for any blockages in the tear duct by inserting a little probe into the opening of the duct that is located at the inner corner of the eye, called the punctum, and sometimes deeper into the short drainage channel which it opens into, called the canaliculus.
The tears that form in your eyes pass through the canaliculus to reach the tear sac.
The doctor may flush your eyes gently with a fluid to see if it drains properly through the canaliculus into the nose.
What Causes Watery Eyes?
Watery eyes are generally symptomatic of certain conditions, rather than a separate medical issue in itself.
These conditions include:
- Dry Eyes: As dry eyes are increasingly prone to irritation, the natural response of the body is to produce excessive tears to lubricate the eyes and bring below the ocular discomfort.
This overstimulation of the lacrimal glands often results in more tears than the eyes can hold, leading to watery eyes.
In addition, surgery such as cataract surgery or LASIK surgery can exacerbate or even cause dry eyes as well.
- Environmental Factors: Environmental chemicals present in the air or wind can irritate the cornea and cause your eyes to well up.
- Medical Conditions: Epiphora can also be the by-product of certain medical disorders, such as corneal ulcer, conjunctivitis, bacterial keratitis, chronic sinusitis, thyroid disorders, and blepharitis (swelling along the edge of the eyelid).
- Ectropion: Ectropion refers to an ocular condition in which the lower eyelid droops and turns outward, pulling away from the eye globe.
Because the eyelid margin turns inside out, the inner surface of the eye becomes exposed and tears fail to pass into the punctum located at the corner of the eyes.
The pooling of tears due to ineffective drainage leads to excessive tearing.
- Allergies: Allergies to dust, dander, or mold can render your lacrimal glands overly athletic, resulting in excessive tearing of the eyes.
- Light Sensitivity: Exposure to bright sunlight or indoor lights can make your eyes water.
- Blocked Tear Ducts: When your tear ducts become blocked due to infection and inflammation, the immediate result is an overproduction of tears that make your eyes watery.
- Medications: Watery eyes can also be a side effect of certain medications such as epinephrine, eye drops, or drugs used in chemotherapy.
- Eye Strain: Staring at LED screens for prolonged hours, reading fine prints, wearing low-powered glasses or lenses, and lack of sleep can make your eyes increasingly heavy, fatigued, and prone to watering.
- Weather Conditions: Sometimes, excess tear production occurs when you are exposed to freezing or windy weather conditions.
- Foreign Objects: Corneal abrasion or laceration caused by the entry of a foreign object into the eyes, eye injuries, burns, chemicals in the eye, ingrown eyelash, and exposure to dust can result in excessively watery eyes.
- Entropion: Entropion refers to the abnormal inversion or inward turning of the lower eyelid and eyelashes, which makes them brush against the cornea and conjunctiva.
This constant friction can make your eyes extremely watery.