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Fall is in the air! Football season is underway and the last of the summer flowers have faded. With all the fun activities autumn brings, fall eye allergies are unfortunately part of the package. 

Eye allergies, also called allergic conjunctivitis, are quite common. They occur when the eyes react to something that irritates them. The eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen. As a result, the eyelids and conjunctiva become red, swollen and itchy. The eyes can tear and burn. Unlike other kinds of conjunctivitis, eye allergies do not spread from person to person. 

The most common symptoms of eye allergies include: 

  • Red, swollen, or itchy eyes

  • Burning or tearing of the eyes

  • Sensitivity to light

If accompanied by nasal allergies, you may also have stuffy, itchy nose and sneezing. You can also have headache, an itchy or sore throat or coughing. 

An allergy is when the body's immune system reacts to an allergen that is normally harmless. When an allergen comes in contact with your eye, certain cells within your eye release histamine and other substances to fight off the allergen. This reaction causes your eyes to become red, itchy and watery.

The allergens in the air, both inside and out, cause many eye allergies. These allergens include: 

  • pollen from grass, trees and ragweed

  • dust

  • pet danger

  • mold

  • smoke

Do It Yourself Allergy Relief

  • Avoid what triggers your eye allergies.

  • When you go out, wear big sunglasses to block pollen from your eyes.

  • Don't rub your eyes! That will make your symptoms worse.

  • Try taking over-the-counter and prescription medications for short term relief, but make sure to use sterile saline rinses and eye lubricants so they can soothe irritated eyes and help flush out allergens.