And that’s only on the outside. Inside, allergens run amok throughout the year, triggering allergy symptoms like coughing, sneezing, stuffy and runny nose — and swollen eyes. Allergies can cause the eyes to swell and become red, itchy, watery,
The reason people have swollen eyes from allergies is they’re getting contact in the eyes from airborne allergies. Basically, what happens is that when the allergens hit your eyes, they sort of dissolve in your tears. They have contact with the lining of the eye [the conjunctiva], and they react with antibodies that are bound to cells in your eyes. These antibodies cause the body to release histamine — which also causes nasal congestion that often accompanies swollen eyes.
The allergens doing this damage include outdoor allergens like pollen and molds and indoor allergens such as cat and dog allergens, and indoor molds.
Remember, these are your eyes we’re talking about, so check with your doctor before you try any treatment.
Consider the following remedies:
1. Wash your face. Washing your face is one of the first things you should do to combat itchy, swollen eyes. It can help wash away the allergens sticking to your skin and eyelashes.
2. Rinse out the eyes. Rinse out the eyes if you can with a little bit of water, and that’s usually helpful. That will loosen the allergens from the inside of your eyes and help to flush them out.
3. Apply a cold compress. Cold compresses around the eyes can be helpful with itching and swelling. Soak a towel or washcloth in cold water or refrigerate a damp cloth or eye pillow. Then lie down with the compress across your eyes to let the coolness reduce swelling.
4. Try allergy eye drops. Try an over-the-counter eye drop made to soothe itchy, swollen eyes caused by allergies.
5. Take oral medications or get allergy shots. Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications, including antihistamines, can provide some relief for milder allergy symptoms, including swollen eyes. Along with eye drops, you can get twice-weekly allergy shots and take several allergy medications to keep allergy symptoms under control.
6. Stay indoors. Weather conditions play a role. A breezy day with lots of pollen in the air can keep you from soothing swollen eyes because of continued exposure to allergens. On days when outdoor allergens are high, stay inside — and save outdoor activities for just after a rain, when fewer allergens fill the air.
But if the following occur, you should call your doctor immediately:
■Feeling like you’ve got something stuck in your eye
■Pain in the eye