When your eyes itch, water excessively, swell and redden due to seasonal allergies, it means your immune system is attacking your own body by releasing antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). If you inhale grass or tree pollen, ragweed, mold spores, house dust or other particulates your immune system thinks is harmful to your body, it will flood your body with IgE, which makes your eyes itch and burn. IgE antibodies discharge chemicals into the blood composed of histamines which are the true instigators of eye allergies.  Your Hasbrouck Heights optometrist can confirm seasonal eye allergies by ordering blood tests measuring IgE levels in your blood stream. To pinpoint the exact cause of an eye allergy, your eye doctor may also drop tiny amounts of a suspected allergen into your lower eyelid to see how your immune system reacts.

What is the Difference Between Eye Allergies and Dry Eyes?

Chronically dry eyes lack sufficient tears for keeping the surface of the eye moist enough to prevent irritation and to allow eyelids to move smoothly over the eyes. Composed of lipids, water and mucin (proteins that act as wetting agents), tears need to remain in the eye constantly to prevent dryness. Dry eyes occur when tears do not contain enough lipids, mucin and/ or water to stop them from evaporating too quickly. Symptoms of dry eyes resemble symptoms of eye allergies–burning sensation, itchiness, redness and the feeling that you have grit or sand embedded in your eye.  If your Hasbrouck Heights optometrist suspects something is wrong with your tear glands, he may take a sample of the gland’s secretion, test it for reduced lipids and prescribe appropriate medications.

Treatment for Eye Allergy

For eye allergy relief, your Hasbrouck Heights eye doctor will prescribe antihistamine medication or eye drops to reduce itchiness, redness and tearing. Two new eye drop drugs called Zaditor and Alocril attack eye allergy symptoms by blocking histamine action and stopping mast cells from releasing histamine. They differ from standard eye drops because they perform two actions instead of one. Your primary care physician may also prescribe non-drowsy allergy medications like Zyrtec or Allegra to help reduce congestion and wheezing.

Don’t suffer all summer with itchy, watery, red eyes. Get effective eye allergy treatment today by scheduling an appointment with your optometrist in Hasbrouck Heights. Call Heights Eye Center at 201-288-1109.