What happens to your eyes?
Your body releases histamines in response to allergens such as pollen, or materials from dust mites, pets and mould. This leads to itchy, inflamed and watery allergic eyes.
How many estimated hayfever sufferers are there in the UK?
What triggers your eye allergy?
Grass, weed and tree pollen can trigger seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hayfever. This is the most common form of allergic rhinitis, which the NHS estimates will affect one in five people at some point in their lives.
Hayfever is difficult to prevent, as staying indoors with closed windows during the summer months isn’t practical.
However, there are ways to minimise the effects:
- Wearing wraparound sunglasses will help stop pollen getting in the eyes when outdoors
- Changing clothes and taking a shower after being outdoors will remove pollen from the body
- Staying indoors as much as possible when the pollen count is high (over 50)
House dust mite allergy is a hypersensitive reaction to proteins in debris from dust mites which are found in all UK homes. As with all allergic reactions, the associated itchy eyes result from histamines released in response to stimulation by an allergen.
To minimise the effects of house mites:
- Reduce the amount of upholstery in the home
- Keep your floor clean with a damp mop. Don’t sweep as this can stir up allergens
- If you can, it’s worth spending money on mite-resistant bedding and pillowcases
- Wash your sheets at 60°C
- Try to keep humidity levels in your house below 50%
Pet dander is one of the most common indoor eye allergens and can cause symptoms all year round. Proteins from body oils, saliva or urine of pets can cause an allergic reaction involving the eyes and airways resulting in asthmatic symptoms and rhinitis.
To minimise the symptoms:
- Keep pets out of your bedroom
- Wash hands after coming into contact with pets
- It’s also a good idea to change clothes, if possible, after coming into close contact with pets
Moulds release microscopic fungal spores that can trigger allergic rhinitis and affect eyes.
If mould triggers your eye allergy, then:
- Regularly clean damp, humid spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens to help prevent mould
- A regularly-cleaned dehumidifier will also help
- A high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter should get rid of spores before they can reach your eyes
If you are in any doubt about the cause of your eye allergy, see your doctor.
Top tip: Don’t rub your eyes
As tempting as it is, this can make things worse. Rubbing your eyes can release more of the inflammatory mediators that make them itch.
How Eyelergy helps
Effective relief for mild hayfever eyes and allergy eyes.
Eyelergy is available online.