Allergy The Allergy Center

Some Topics

Eye Allergy Symptoms

Eye symptoms are common in both airborne and food allergy. Red, itchy eyes are the most common complaints. Hay fever often involves the eyes and nose in a festival of itching and secretion. The eye symptoms are relieved by oral antihistamines, or eye drops containing antihistamines, cromoglycate, and steroids.

Since hay fever and air pollution produce similar effects it may be difficult to decide that irritated eyes are cause by allergy. Hay fever is triggered by airborne pollens that are released seasonally. Airborne fungal spores may cause eye allergy at any time of the year. Chemical irritation may look and feel the same as allergy but the mechanism is different. When the red, itching or burning eye symptoms are chronic the diagnosis must also include food allergy.

Food allergy tends to produce more continuous prolonged eye irritation and is sometimes associated with small growths on the inner surface of the eyelids. Food allergy will always cause symptoms in other parts of the body. Small changes in the cornea with surface eye swelling may be reported as changes in focusing ability or blurring and may be part of a food reaction complex. Blurring of vision is reported frequently and may be associated with migraine headaches. Patients will often complain of blurring of vision as part of a mental fogginess experience; eye examination usually reveals no abnormality.

Migraine auras often involve dramatic visual changes with geometric figures appearing in the visual field. Migraine pain often feels like its coming from behind an eye and spreads into the forehead and temple. Rarely a migraine headaches is associated with a temporary loss of vision. Pain around and behind the eye is common in migraine. In cluster headaches, a migraine variant, eye pain, reddening and profuse tearing occur.

More serious threats as allergy turns into autoimmune disease. The major concern is inflammation in the small blood vessels of the retina and in the retina itself. Permanent visual loss can occur; prompt treatment of mysterious retinal inflammation with a food holiday on Alpha ENF (no food problems allowed in) and prednisone may save vision.

Effect of Air Pollution on the Eyes

Air pollution in the form of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and similar compounds has been responsible for depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, permitting increased amounts of UV radiation to reach the Earth. Excessive exposure to UV from the sun has a potential contributing role in the development of various eye disorders, including age-related cataract, pterygium (growth of tissue on the white of the eye), cancer of the skin around the eye, photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea), corneal degenerative changes, and age-related macular degeneration. These effects are an important issue for ophthalmologists because of the sensitivity of the eye to UV-A and UV-B light, both of which have the capacity to produce painful conjunctivitis and have been linked to cataracts.

Photochemical smog and its constituents are individually and collectively irritating to the eyes, but current knowledge suggests that permanent eye damage does not result from these forms of air pollution. (From NAPE Conference on Air Pollution)

Indoor Air Quality

All of the indoor air pollutants that bother he nose can also cause eye symptoms. With irritation, red burning eyes are the common complaint, sometimes with blurring of vision. Tobacco smoke is the most common culprit at home and in work environments where smoking is permitted.
See the discussion on air pollution  for more information.

ENT Topics