People sometimes mistake an eye allergy for an eye infection. However, there are key differences between the two. We elaborate on them in this post.
A Longer List of Symptoms for Eye Infections
Red, itchy watery eyes and a burning sensation are common symptoms of eye allergies and infections. However, the latter has a longer list of symptoms, which include pain, a gritty feeling in the eyes, sensitivity to light, a thick discharge (for bacterial eye infections) and a mucus-like discharge (for viral infections). In general, if you experience pain in your eyes or there’s anything other than tears that’s being discharged for them, there’s a strong chance your eyes might be infected. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Viral eye infections usually clear up on their own, although cold compresses and lubricating eye drops can help you manage symptoms. However, for bacterial eye infections, you’ll need to get a prescription.
The first thing to do would be to avoid allergens, most of which are airborne. The most common type of allergy is seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), which is caused by exposure to pollen in spring, summer or fall. In addition to the usual symptoms, people suffering from SAC usually have chronic dark circles under their eyes and puffy eyelids.
Of course, pollen isn’t the only thing that can trigger allergies. Exposure to dust mites, mold and pet dander can cause perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC), which, as the name suggests, occurs year-round. The symptoms of PAC are milder than symptoms of SAC. Limiting your exposure to dust, pet dander and other common household allergens is the best way to manage allergies. However, if you’re constantly exposed to allergens, you can consult your eye doctor for possible treatment options. Remember: It’s important that see your eye doctor or low-vision specialist at least once a year for an eye exam.
Looking for eye clinics near you?
Joel H McGahen, OD offers a wide range of professional eye care services, including eye exams and contact lenses. To schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists, call us at (717) 264-4012 or fill out this form. We serve homeowners in Shippensburg and Greencastle, PA, as well as the surrounding communities in Pennsylvania.