Allergies Specialist

James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates

Ophthalmologists & Optometrists located in Fremont, CA

While eye allergies don’t pose a threat to your sight and are not contagious, they affect millions of Americans annually. If your allergies interfere with everyday activities, call or make an appointment online today with one of the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates in Fremont, California.

Allergies Q & A

James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates

What are eye allergies?

Allergic conjunctivitis — or eye allergies — are a common eye condition that inflame the tissue that lines the inside of your eyelids and outside of the eyeball.

Like other allergies, eye allergies start when your immune system identifies a harmless substance as an allergen, overreacts, and produces antibodies. The immunoglobulin travels to cells that release the chemicals responsible for itchy, red, swollen, or watery eyes.

The most common eye allergies include:

  • Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis: The most common type of eye allergy, seasonal allergic conjunctivitis occurs in relation to pollen and other allergens in the air.
  • Perennial allergic conjunctivitis: Perennial allergic conjunctivitis includes reactions to dust mites, mold, pet dander, and other household allergens.
  • Vernal keratoconjunctivitis: Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is a more severe, year-round eye allergy that worsens seasonally. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis primarily occurs in boys and young men, especially in those who also suffer from eczema or asthma.
  • Atopic keratoconjunctivitis: Atopic keratoconjunctivitis primarily affects older men with a history of allergic dermatitis.
  • Contact allergic conjunctivitis: Contact allergic conjunctivitis results from either irritation from contact lenses or the proteins that bind to their surfaces.

How are eye allergies diagnosed?

Common eye allergy symptoms include:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness
  • Burning
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity
  • Grittiness

To diagnose you with eye allergies, the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates discuss your medical history and your family’s history of allergies. A slit-lamp microscope helps find swollen blood vessels on the surface of your eyes.

How are eye allergies treated?

Since there is no cure for eye allergies, the best treatment is to avoid your triggers by:

  • Keeping windows closed and using your air conditioner
  • Wearing glasses or sunglasses when outside
  • Using mite-proof bedding and washing it in hot water
  • Using dehumidifiers to control mold
  • Refraining from rubbing or touching your eyes
  • Washing your hands with soap and water
  • Using HEPA filters in your vacuum and air conditioner

If avoidance is not enough, the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates recommend either over-the-counter or prescription medications. These include:

  • Artificial tears — wash out irritants and moisturize dry eyes
  • Decongestant eye drops/oral antihistamines — relieve itchiness
  • Eye drops with corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory ingredients

For help dealing with your eye allergies, call or make an appointment online with one of the doctors at James N. Cohn M.D. & Associates in Fremont, California.