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Ahhh finally Spring! Leaves are budding on trees, flowers are blooming, grass is growing and your eyes are an itchy, red mess!

Eye allergies are known as allergic conjunctivitis and occur when the eyes react to something that irritates them (called an allergen). 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 are not spread from person to person.

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 (called mast cells) release histamine and other substances to fight off the allergen. This reaction causes your eyes to become red, itchy and watery.

Some treatments are:

  • Avoid going outdoors as much as possible when pollen counts are highest. Pollen counts are usually highest in the mid-morning and early evening.
  • Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioning in your home and car. This helps to lower your exposure
  • Visit your eye doctor or allergist for medications or other recommendations to help.

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