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Allergies are your body’s natural response to certain medications or substances, usually resulting in itchiness, redness, and inflammation, among other symptoms. They may occur during particular seasons of the year, or year round, depending on what you’re allergic to. If you suffer from allergies, your eyes may be affected, too. They may be red, itchy, and watery and your eyes and eyelids may even be inflamed.

Allergies are extremely common, affecting 50 million1 people in the U.S. alone.

What Causes Allergies?

When your body comes into contact with an allergen or certain medications, your immune system naturally reacts, producing a chemical called a histamine. Histamine binds to tissue in the eyes, causing them to enlarge or dilate, which manifest as the symptoms of allergies.

Common allergens affecting the eyes include, but are not limited to, pollen, ragweed, grass, mold, weeds, dust, and pet dander.

Symptoms of Allergies

The most common symptoms of allergies include:

  • Redness
  • Excess tearing
  • Eye Itching
  • Sneezing
  • Sinus activity

Treatments for Allergies

In most cases, an eye care professional will recognize your symptoms as allergies, but more thorough examinations may include a slit lamp evaluation.

The best way to treat allergies is by avoiding allergens. For example, if you commonly experience allergic reactions during the springtime, you probably are reacting to pollens in the air, and should try to stay indoors as much as possible. Similarly, if you get allergies every time you’re in a house with pet hair, you’d be wise to avoid animals as best you can.

There are numerous non-prescription products that work to fight the symptoms of allergies including cold compresses or topical treatments. Your eye care professional will determine the treatment regimen that is right for you.

Bausch + Lomb Alaway Antihistamine Eye Drops provide itch relief within minutes that can last up to 12 hours. If you also have redness, try Bausch + Lomb Opcon-A Itching & Redness Reliever Eye Drops for temporary relief of itching and redness caused by pollen, ragweed, grass, animal hair and dander. For more severe eye allergies a prescription medication such as Bausch + Lomb Alrex may be prescribed by your doctor. See Full Prescribing information(390.6 KB, PDF).

Allergy sufferers can benefit from daily replacement of contact lenses with a fresh, new lenses every day.

Additional Information

Tips for using eye drops safely

1 “CDC Fast Facts A-Z,” Vital Health Statistics, 2003