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How Your Eyes React to Allergens

How Your Eyes React to Allergens

You're probably familiar with seasonal allergies that cause sneezing, sniffling, and wheezing. And you're likely also aware that certain foods can cause gastrointestinal symptoms or other allergic reactions. But you may not think about how your eyes respond to allergens.

It's important to understand eye allergies, because their symptoms can sometimes mimic those of other eye conditions. What's more, your vision and quality of life may suffer when you experience allergic symptoms in your eyes.

Here at Advanced Laser & Eye Center of Arizona, home of, we’re pleased to have an allergy specialist on staff. Thomas Willim, PA-C, diagnoses and treats a wide range of allergies, including those that affect the eyes. Here, we address how your eyes can react to allergens and what you can do about eye allergies.

An immune response

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to something in the environment (an allergen). Allergies can be caused by a range of substances, including pollen, food, dust mites, chemicals, pet dander, mold, insect bites, cigarette smoke, air pollution, or plant oils.

When you’re exposed to something that triggers an allergic reaction, your immune system responds by producing antibodies. These antibodies can cause a variety of reactions in your body, ranging from a slight itch to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

If an allergen affects your eyes, it may cause one or more of the following:

These symptoms may occur on their own or be accompanied by other types of allergic symptoms elsewhere in your body.

What to do if your eyes react

One of the best ways to protect your eyes from allergens is to avoid the things that bother you. Pay attention to what triggers your symptoms. Do your eye allergy symptoms occur during a certain time of year or when you’re in a specific situation? Do they happen after you do a particular activity, such as spending time outdoors?

Once you know what's setting off your eye symptoms, you can do your best to avoid them, although avoidance isn't always possible.

For minor allergy symptoms, over-the-counter eye drops, allergy medications, and antihistamines may provide relief. However, relying on these treatments isn't always the best answer.

We offer sublingual immune therapy (SLIT) drops, also known as allergy drops. These drops contain trace amounts of the allergens that cause your symptoms. This very small exposure trains your immune system to stop reacting, which allows your symptoms to subside. 

Each day, you place a few drops under your tongue, and your body absorbs the drops through tiny blood vessels. Over time, treatment with allergy drops reduce or even eliminate allergies.

Care for all your vision and allergy needs

Our providers offer a full range of vision services, including eye exams, cataract surgery, optical services, and eye surgery. And our allergy practice offers comprehensive allergy treatment for all types of allergies, including those that affect the eyes.

Our offices are conveniently located in Gilbert, Chandler, and Queen Creek, Arizona. Contact us today to schedule a visit.

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