Children and Eye Allergies

What is an Eye Allergy?

An eye allergy takes place when our eyes react to an allergen or a substance that causes an allergy. Our eyes create a substance known as histamine to kill the allergen and it makes our eyelids and conjunctiva red, swollen and itchy.

Also known as allergic conjunctivitis, eye allergies are quite common among children.

Causes


Following are the allergens responsible for the birth of eye allergies.

1. Pollen
Allergies caused due to pollen are typically seasonal. Tree pollen results in spring allergies, grass pollen causes summer allergies and weed pollen causes fall allergies. It also depends on what kind of pollen a child is allergic to. A child could be allergic to a multitude of pollens covering most of the year. Each seasonal allergy lasts for about 4-8 weeks.

2. Pets
Pet animals like dogs, cats, rabbits and horses carry dander (tiny flecks of skin). Often pet dander can be spread in the air when these animals move about. It can also reach into or around our eyes accidentally after touching these animals. In case you own a pet animal, your child will experience allergic symptoms all year round if he/she is allergic to animal dander.

3. House Dust
House dust is a combination of pollen, dander, molds and much more. A child who is allergic to these allergens could experience allergic symptoms throughout the year.

When a child comes in contact with these allergens, they tend to rub their eyes excessively as a response. Some of the symptoms they may experience include -
1. Nasal Congestion
2. Runny nose
3. Scratchy throat
4. Cough
5. Itchy Eyes
6. Excessive Eye Rubbing
7. White portion of the eyes turning pink/red
8. Swelling/Redness of the eyelids
9. Glassy-looking or swollen eyes

Diagnosis

Several other eye diseases and inflammatory eye diseases possess symptoms similar to eye allergies or conjunctivitis like bacterial/viral pink eye and complication in contact lenses. You must get in touch with your eye doctor to figure out what the issue could be, so that your child can begin treatment.

Treatment

Treatment options depend on what your child is allergic to and the gravity of the allergic reaction.
1. Anti-histamine or anti-allergy eye drops will be prescribed by your doctor if the allergy symptoms are present in the eyes.

2. If the eye allergy is severe, other anti-inflammatory eye drops can be prescribed to use for a short time to control an acute allergic reaction.

3. If the symptoms include a runny nose or cough, an oral anti-allergy medication will be prescribed based on your child's needs.

4. Use a warm, damp, clean cloth to clean off allergens resting on your body and face.

Prevention

Trying to keep your child away from allergens obviously seems easier said than done, even though it is the best preventive option. However, what you can do is consult an eye doctor to discuss the best preventive care option to reduce the severity of the reaction whenever the eye allergy comes up.

Takeaway

Consult your eye doctor as soon as your child experiences symptoms of an allergic reaction and try to keep your child away from things that cause the allergy as much as possible.