EYE ALLERGIES (Itchy eyes)

Understand that an allergy is actually a sign that your immune system is working overtime trying to rid your body of the irritant causing the reaction.

Allergic reaction can lead to sinusitis and middle ear infections. Scientific researchers have shown that food allergies have caused and contributed to many diseases, so do not take your food allergies lightly.

Allergic conjunctivitis (itchy eyes) may take many forms. It may be acute or subtle. It may be seasonal (that is, occur at a particular time of the year, for example Vernal conjunctivitis that occur in spring). It may even be associated with skin allergy because the eyelid and conjunctiva are skin-related tissues. (Conjunctiva is a thin transparent layer that covers the white of the eyes and underside of the lid)

Symptoms of Eye Allergies

1)   Watery discharge (tearing)                2)  Itching       3)  Swelling      4)   Burning

5)  Light sensitivity (photophobia)         6)   Crushing and scaling of the eyelid skin(dermatitis).

Note: Swelling and itching are the hallmarks of eye allergies.

Causes of Eye allergies

There are many causes of eye allergies, but the commonest ones are;

  1. Pollen (from flowers)
  2. Foods
  3. Eye drops
  4. Chemicals
  5. Cosmetics
  6. Shampoos
  7. Pets

Common types of Eye Allergies

  1. Seasonal Allergies;  (Mild Atopic Conjunctivitis , Rhino conjunctivitis)

These are quite common. It causes running nose and watery eyes and comes at a particular time of the year. It is a very common allergy caused by airborne antigens such as mould spores, pollen,   grass, weeds, hairs, wool and feathers. It causes itching and redness.

Presentation:

*     It has a sudden acute onset.

*     Transient attack of itching

*     There is tearing

*     The eyes will be red

*      More common during hay fever season.

  1. Atopic dermatitis:

It is relatively rare. But it is more severe than seasonal allergies because symptoms are present all the time. It is common among children. This is potentially serious condition that normally affects the skin especially in the area of the neck folds. The eye involvement is secondary. The primary diseases are asthma and hay fever. Eye involvement usually develops many years later.

Presentation

*   There is eyelash loss

*   There is an itchy and scaly eyelid

*   The cornea may be affected (keratopathy)

  1. Vernal (spring) Allergies:

This is the most severe among allergies. It is quite common among young people. It is worse in spring and summer. It is common in males than females. The onset of vernal allergies is usually around 5 years and the condition eventually resolves around puberty, only rarely persisting beyond the age of 25. The symptoms may occur throughout the year but are characteristically worse during the spring and summer. This is mostly genetics and the condition can be very difficult to treat.

Presentation

  • It comes with very severe itching
  • There is brownish discolorations of the eye
  • There are dark patches around eyelids.
  • There is tearing and light sensitivity
  • There is burning and sandy feeling sensation.
  • There is tick mucus discharged from the eyes and it usually affects both eyes.
  • It often causes large bumps (cobblestones) on the conjunctiva of the lid and on the white of the eyes.
  1. Allergies caused by contact lenses:

This may be related to preservatives in contact lens solution. It may have mechanical cause too.

5. Contact Allergies:

Soaps, shampoos, eye makeup, hairsprays, skin lotions or eye drop prescriptions (iatrogenic) cause this. It causes chronic itching and redness. The symptoms do not subside until offending source is removed.

Presentation

  • There is itching
  • There is swelling of lids
  • There is redness of eyeball

Scientific explanation for Allergies

When we encounter an allergy, (any substance we’re allergic to), immune cells called mast cells releases histamine in the tissue causing swelling and dilation of the blood vessels in the tissue, which leads to all symptoms of allergy (swelling, itching, redness). Hay fever allergy (conjunctivitis) is a very common type of seasonal allergic reaction caused by histamine release. It is usually related to pollen released in plants. It may stay with sufferer for as long as three seasons of the year, but it should diminish/disappear during the winter months (depending upon where you live and how long you are there).

Diet and supplementation play important roles in preventing and treating eye allergies. Food flavourings, colourings and preservatives (like sulfites, which are used to keep lettuce crisp) may be factors in allergic conjunctivitis. A severe allergy to carmine, a natural red dye used in cosmetics, food, beverages and medicine, has been reported to cause eye itching.

In 19th century, James Breneman, MD found a 100% success rate in curing gallbladder attacks by eliminating allergic food from his patients’ diets. In addition, Alan Gaby, MD and Jonathan Wright, MD have instituted the same type of protocol and found that it works. Most conventional methods (drugs) tend to treat allergies for a short term.

According to Dr. Abel Robert Jr. MD, the renowned American Ophthalmologist, who has conducted many researches on natural therapies of the eye diseases, prescribed alternative methods, such as diet and supplementation, for long-term treatment of allergies. He also discovered that the adrenal glands are very important in maintaining eye and body health. Providing support for the adrenal glands while relieving stress is an excellent path to follow.

Prevention and control of allergies

  1. Take action to fight your allergies by identifying their causes including your medications, which might even include that your eye drops you buy over the counter.
  2. Utilize an elimination diet; by doing this, you might be able to eliminate suspect food like
  3. diary, wheat and shellfish.
  4. Take natural antihistamines like Vitamin C and Quercitin (found in red onions and garlic or
  5. available as a supplement).
  6. Avoid drinks and food with flavourings, colourings and preservatives.
  7. Try to avoid food, cosmetics, beverages, and medicine with carmine ( carmine ia a natural red dye)
  8. Take time to understudy yourself, environment, and anything you consume into or use on your body. Any of such things that gives you discomfort might be a source of allergy and must be discontinued.

Alternative therapy for eye allergies

*   Take Vit B supplement (B6, B12 especially) regularly.

*   Take Vit C supplement regularly.

*   Consume foods rich in Bioflavonoids (see table  1). It has been discovered that combining

vitamins with Bioflavanoids is useful in suppressing allergy.

*    Quercitin (which comes from red onions and garlic) is a powerful anti-inflammatory that

suppresses allergies. It is available in supplements (tabs) form as well.  (take 100mg a day. If  

      you take Quercitin tabs, combine it with Vit C)

*    Consume five to ten servings of vegetables and fruits daily.

*    Avoid some packaged foods: most packaged foods contain unnecessary (and sometimes

hidden) chemicals and transfats that may contribute to your allergies.

*    Take essential fatty acids tabs (500mg twice daily) with a meal.

Conventional therapies (medications) will not be treated here for fear of drug abuse. Patients who prefer short-term treatment should consult their eye doctors.

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