What to do about swollen allergy eyes

Food allergies happen when the immune system – the body’s defence against infection – mistakenly treats proteins found in food as a threat.

As a result, a number of chemicals are released. It’s these chemicals that cause the symptoms of an allergic reaction.

Almost any food can cause an allergic reaction, but there are certain foods that are responsible for most food allergies.

Foods that most commonly cause an allergic reaction are:

  1. eggs
  2. shellfish
  3. tree nuts
  4. fish
  5. milk
  6. peanuts
  7. some fruit and vegetables

Most children that own a food allergy will own experienced eczema during infancy.

The worse the child’s eczema and the earlier it started, the more likely they are to own a food allergy.

It’s still unknown why people develop allergies to food, although they often own other allergic conditions, such as asthma, hay fever and eczema.

Read more information about the causes and risk factors for food allergies.


How to avoid swollen eyelids

By Aimee Rodrigues; reviewed by Gary Heiting, OD

A swollen eyelid occurs when there is inflammation or excess fluid (edema) in the connective tissues surrounding the eye.

Swollen eyes may or may not be painful, and the condition can affect both the upper and lower eyelids.

There are numerous causes of a swollen eye, including eye infections, eye injuries or trauma, and (most commonly)

allergies

.

Swelling of the eyelids can be a sign of a more serious, potentially sight-threatening health problem, such as

orbital cellulitis

,

Graves' disease

and

ocular herpes

.

It's significant that you visit your eye doctor for a thorough eye exam if your symptoms persist, worsen or change.

FIND A DOCTOR: If you own just moved or it's been a while since your final exam, find an eye doctor near you.


Causes of swollen eyes

There are numerous causes of swollen eyelids — ranging from mild to potentially sight-threatening conditions.

Allergies: Eye allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen. Pollen, dust, pet dander, certain eye drops and contact lens solutions are some of the most common eye allergens. An allergic reaction to makeup also is a known culprit of swollen eyes.

Eye allergies develop when your eyes release chemical "mediators" to protect your eyes from allergens to which you are sensitive.

The most common is histamine, which causes blood vessels in your eyes to dilate and swell, mucous membranes to itch and your eye to become red and watery.

Conjunctivitis: Also called "pink eye

Causes of swollen eyes

There are numerous causes of swollen eyelids — ranging from mild to potentially sight-threatening conditions.

Allergies: Eye allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen.

Pollen, dust, pet dander, certain eye drops and contact lens solutions are some of the most common eye allergens. An allergic reaction to makeup also is a known culprit of swollen eyes.

Eye allergies develop when your eyes release chemical "mediators" to protect your eyes from allergens to which you are sensitive.

The most common is histamine, which causes blood vessels in your eyes to dilate and swell, mucous membranes to itch and your eye to become red and watery.

Conjunctivitis: Also called "pink eye

Avoidance

The first approach in managing seasonal or perennial forms of hay fever should be to avoid the allergens that trigger symptoms.

Outdoor exposure

  1. Avoid using window fans that can draw pollens and molds into the house.
  2. Don’t hang clothing outdoors to dry; pollen may cling to towels and sheets.
  3. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the quantity of pollen getting into your eyes.
  4. Wear a pollen mask (such as a NIOSH-rated 95 filter mask) when mowing the lawn, raking leaves or gardening, and take appropriate medication beforehand.
  5. Stay indoors as much as possible when pollen counts are at their peak, generally during the midmorning and early evening (this may vary according to plant pollen), and when wind is blowing pollens around.
  6. Try not to rub your eyes; doing so will irritate them and could make your symptoms worse.

Indoor exposure

  1. Keep windows closed, and use air conditioning in your car and home.

    Make certain to hold your air conditioning unit clean.

  2. To limit exposure to mold, hold the humidity in your home low (between 30 and 50 percent) and clean your bathrooms, kitchen and basement regularly. Use a dehumidifier, especially in the basement and in other damp, humid places, and empty and clean it often. If mold is visible, clean it with mild detergent and a 5 percent bleach solution as directed by an allergist.
  3. Reduce exposure to dust mites, especially in the bedroom. Use “mite-proof” covers for pillows, comforters and duvets, and mattresses and box springs.

    Wash your bedding frequently, using boiling water (at least degrees Fahrenheit).

  4. Clean floors with a damp rag or mop, rather than dry-dusting or sweeping.

Exposure to pets

  1. Wash your hands immediately after petting any animals; wash your clothes after visiting friends with pets.
  2. If you are allergic to a household pet, hold the animal out of your home as much as possible. If the pet must be inside, hold it out of the bedroom so you are not exposed to animal allergens while you sleep.
  3. Close the air ducts to your bedroom if you own forced-air or central heating or cooling.

    Replace carpeting with hardwood, tile or linoleum, every of which are easier to hold dander-free.

Medications

Many allergens that trigger allergic rhinitis are airborne, so you can’t always avoid them. If your symptoms can’t be well-controlled by simply avoiding triggers, your allergist may recommend medications that reduce nasal congestion, sneezing, and an itchy and runny nose. They are available in numerous forms — oral tablets, liquid medication, nasal sprays and eyedrops. Some medications may own side effects, so discuss these treatments with your allergist so they can assist you live the life you want.

Antihistamines

Antihistamines are commonly used to treat allergic rhinitis.

These medications counter the effects of histamine, the irritating chemical released within your body when an allergic reaction takes put. Although other chemicals are involved, histamine is primarily responsible for causing the symptoms. Antihistamines are found in eyedrops, nasal sprays and, most commonly, oral tablets and syrup.

Antihistamines assist to relieve nasal allergy symptoms such as:

  1. Sneezing and an itchy, runny nose
  2. Eye itching, burning, tearing and redness
  3. Itchy skin, hives and eczema

There are dozens of antihistamines; some are available over the counter, while others require a prescription.

Patients reply to them in a wide variety of ways.

Generally, the newer (second-generation) products work well and produce only minor side effects. Some people discover that an antihistamine becomes less effective as the allergy season worsens or as their allergies change over time. If you discover that an antihistamine is becoming less effective, tell your allergist, who may recommend a diverse type or strength of antihistamine. If you own excessive nasal dryness or thick nasal mucus, consult an allergist before taking antihistamines. Contact your allergist for advice if an antihistamine causes drowsiness or other side effects.

Proper use: Short-acting antihistamines can be taken every four to six hours, while timed-release antihistamines are taken every 12 to 24 hours.

The short-acting antihistamines are often most helpful if taken 30 minutes before an anticipated exposure to an allergen (such as at a picnic during ragweed season). Timed-release antihistamines are better suited to long-term use for those who need daily medications. Proper use of these drugs is just as significant as their selection. The most effective way to use them is before symptoms develop. A dose taken early can eliminate the need for numerous later doses to reduce established symptoms. Numerous times a patient will tell that he or she “took one, and it didn’t work.” If the patient had taken the antihistamine regularly for three to four days to build up blood levels of the medication, it might own been effective.

Side effects: Older (first-generation) antihistamines may cause drowsiness or performance impairment, which can lead to accidents and personal injury.

Even when these medications are taken only at bedtime, they can still cause considerable impairment the following day, even in people who do not feel drowsy.

What to do about swollen allergy eyes

For this reason, it is significant that you do not drive a car or work with dangerous machinery when you take a potentially sedating antihistamine. Some of the newer antihistamines do not cause drowsiness.

A frequent side effect is excessive dryness of the mouth, nose and eyes.

What to do about swollen allergy eyes

Less common side effects include restlessness, nervousness, overexcitability, insomnia, dizziness, headaches, euphoria, fainting, visual disturbances, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal distress, constipation, diarrhea, increased or decreased urination, urinary retention, high or low blood pressure, nightmares (especially in children), sore throat, unusual bleeding or bruising, chest tightness or palpitations. Men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on antihistamines.

Consult your allergist if these reactions occur.

Important precautions:

  1. Alcohol and tranquilizers increase the sedation side effects of antihistamines.
  2. Some antihistamines appear to be safe to take during pregnancy, but there own not been enough studies to determine the absolute safety of antihistamines in pregnancy. Again, consult your allergist or your obstetrician if you must take antihistamines.
  3. Keep these medications out of the reach of children.
  4. Know how the medication affects you before working with heavy machinery, driving or doing other performance-intensive tasks; some products can slow your reaction time.
  5. Follow your allergist’s instructions.
  6. While antihistamines own been taken safely by millions of people in the final 50 years, don’t take antihistamines before telling your allergist if you are allergic to, or intolerant of, any medicine; are pregnant or intend to become pregnant while using this medication; are breast-feeding; own glaucoma or an enlarged prostate; or are ill.
  7. Do not use more than one antihistamine at a time, unless prescribed.
  8. Never take anyone else’s medication.

Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy may be recommended for people who don’t reply well to treatment with medications or who experience side effects from medications, who own allergen exposure that is unavoidable or who desire a more permanent solution to their allergies.

Immunotherapy can be extremely effective in controlling allergic symptoms, but it doesn’t assist the symptoms produced by nonallergic rhinitis.

Two types of immunotherapy are available: allergy shots and sublingual (under-the-tongue) tablets.

  1. Allergy shots: A treatment program, which can take three to five years, consists of injections of a diluted allergy extract, istered frequently in increasing doses until a maintenance dose is reached. Then the injection schedule is changed so that the same dose is given with longer intervals between injections.

    What to do about swollen allergy eyes

    Immunotherapy helps the body build resistance to the effects of the allergen, reduces the intensity of symptoms caused by allergen exposure and sometimes can actually make skin test reactions vanish. As resistance develops over several months, symptoms should improve.

  2. Sublingual tablets: This type of immunotherapy was approved by the Food and Drug istration in Starting several months before allergy season begins, patients dissolve a tablet under the tongue daily.

    Treatment can continue for as endless as three years. Only a few allergens (certain grass and ragweed pollens and home dust mite) can be treated now with this method, but it is a promising therapy for the future.

Nasal sprays

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays will assist counteract symptoms such as dry nasal passages or thick nasal mucus. Unlike decongestant nasal sprays, a saline nasal spray can be used as often as it is needed.

Sometimes an allergist may recommend washing (douching) the nasal passage. There are numerous OTC delivery systems for saline rinses, including neti pots and saline rinse bottles.

Nasal cromolyn blocks the body’s release of allergy-causing substances.

What to do about swollen allergy eyes

It does not work in every patients. The full dose is four times daily, and improvement of symptoms may take several weeks. Nasal cromolyn can assist prevent allergic nasal reactions if taken prior to an allergen exposure.

Nasal ipratropium bromide spray can assist reduce nasal drainage from allergic rhinitis or some forms of nonallergic rhinitis.

Leukatriene pathway inhibitors

Leukotriene pathway inhibitors (montelukast, zafirlukast and zileuton) block the action of leukotriene, a substance in the body that can cause symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

These drugs are also used to treat asthma.

Intranasal corticosteroids

Intranasal corticosteroids are the single most effective drug class for treating allergic rhinitis. They can significantly reduce nasal congestion as well as sneezing, itching and a runny nose.

Ask your allergist about whether these medications are appropriate and safe for you. These sprays are designed to avoid the side effects that may happen from steroids that are taken by mouth or injection.

Take care not to spray the medication against the middle portion of the nose (the nasal septum). The most common side effects are local irritation and nasal bleeding. Some older preparations own been shown to own some effect on children’s growth; data about some newer steroids don’t indicate an effect on growth.

Decongestants

Decongestants assist relieve the stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue. They do not contain antihistamines, so they do not cause antihistaminic side effects.

What to do about swollen allergy eyes

They do not relieve other symptoms of allergic rhinitis. Oral decongestants are available as prescription and nonprescription medications and are often found in combination with antihistamines or other medications. It is not unusual for patients using decongestants to experience insomnia if they take the medication in the afternoon or evening. If this occurs, a dose reduction may be needed. At times, men with prostate enlargement may encounter urinary problems while on decongestants. Patients using medications to manage emotional or behavioral problems should discuss this with their allergist before using decongestants. Patients with high blood pressure or heart disease should check with their allergist before using.

Pregnant patients should also check with their allergist before starting decongestants.

Nonprescription decongestant nasal sprays work within minutes and final for hours, but you should not use them for more than a few days at a time unless instructed by your allergist. Prolonged use can cause rhinitis medicamentosa, or rebound swelling of the nasal tissue.

What to do about swollen allergy eyes

Stopping the use of the decongestant nasal spray will cure that swelling, provided that there is no underlying disorder.

Oral decongestants are found in numerous over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications, and may be the treatment of choice for nasal congestion. They don’t cause rhinitis medicamentosa but need to be avoided by some patients with high blood pressure. If you own high blood pressure or heart problems, check with your allergist before using them.

Eye allergy preparations and eyedrops

Eye allergy preparations may be helpful when the eyes are affected by the same allergens that trigger rhinitis, causing redness, swelling, watery eyes and itching.

OTC eyedrops and oral medications are commonly used for short-term relief of some eye allergy symptoms. They may not relieve every symptoms, though, and prolonged use of some of these drops may actually cause your condition to worsen.

Prescription eyedrops and oral medications also are used to treat eye allergies. Prescription eyedrops provide both short- and long-term targeted relief of eye allergy symptoms, and can be used to manage them.

Check with your allergist or pharmacist if you are unsure about a specific drug or formula.

Treatments that are not recommended for allergic rhinitis

  1. Antibiotics: Effective for the treatment of bacterial infections, antibiotics do not affect the course of uncomplicated common colds (a viral infection) and are of no benefit for noninfectious rhinitis, including allergic rhinitis.
  2. Nasal surgery: Surgery is not a treatment for allergic rhinitis, but it may assist if patients own nasal polyps or chronic sinusitis that is not responsive to antibiotics or nasal steroid sprays.

A food allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts unusually to specific foods.

Although allergic reactions are often mild, they can be extremely serious.

Symptoms of a food allergy can affect diverse areas of the body at the same time. Some common symptoms include:

  1. an itchy sensation inside the mouth, throat or ears
  2. swelling of the face, around the eyes, lips, tongue and roof of the mouth (angioedema)
  3. a raised itchy red rash (urticaria, or «hives»)
  4. vomiting

Read more about the symptoms of food allergies.


Anaphylaxis

In the most serious cases, a person has a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), which can be life threatening.

Call if you ponder someone has the symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:

  1. breathing difficulties
  2. trouble swallowing or speaking
  3. feeling dizzy or faint

Ask for an ambulance and tell the operator you ponder the person is having a severe allergic reaction.


Symptoms of swollen eyes

Swelling of the eyelids is a symptom of an underlying cause, such as allergy or infection. Swollen eyes generally are accompanied by one or more of the following:

A swollen eyelid may be a symptom of allergies or a sign of a serious eye infection.

  1. Excess tear production, resulting in watering eyes
  2. Eye discharge
  3. Redness of the eyelid
  4. Red eyes and inflammation of the conjunctiva
  5. Eye irritation, such as an itchy or scratchy sensation
  6. Eyelid dryness or flaking
  7. Sensitivity to light (photophobia)
  8. Obstructed vision (depending on the extent of the swelling)
  9. Pain, particularly when swollen eyelids are caused by infection

Puffy vs.

swollen eyes. The term "puffy eyes" often is interchangeable with "swollen eyes." Swollen eyes is generally used to describe an immune response to allergy, infection or injury, whereas "puffy eyes" is more likely used to refer to the external physical characteristic of swollen eyes from water retention, lack of sleep, or genetic traits love dark circles under the eyes.


Types of food allergies

Food allergies are divided into 3 types, depending on symptoms and when they occur.

  1. IgE-mediated food allergy – the most common type, triggered by the immune system producing an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE).

    Symptoms occur a few seconds or minutes after eating. There’s a greater risk of anaphylaxis with this type of allergy.

  2. non-IgE-mediated food allergy – these allergic reactions aren’t caused by immunoglobulin E, but by other cells in the immune system. This type of allergy is often hard to diagnose as symptoms take much longer to develop (up to several hours).
  3. mixed IgE and non-IgE-mediated food allergies – some people may experience symptoms from both types.

Read more information about the symptoms of a food allergy.

Oral allergy syndrome (pollen-food syndrome)

Some people experience itchiness in their mouth and throat, sometimes with mild swelling, immediately after eating unused fruit or vegetables.

What to do about swollen allergy eyes

This is known as oral allergy syndrome.

Oral allergy syndrome is caused by allergy antibodies mistaking certain proteins in unused fruits, nuts or vegetables for pollen.

Oral allergy syndrome generally doesn’t cause severe symptoms, and it’s possible to deactivate the allergens by thoroughly cooking any fruit and vegetables.

The Allergy UK website has more information.


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