Eye & Nasal Allergies

Eye (Ocular) Allergies

Allergic conjunctivitis or eye allergies occur when an allergen irritates the conjunctiva, which is the delicate membrane covering the eye and the inside of the eyelid. Seasonal allergens such as pollen and mold spores are the most common causes of allergic conjunctivitis. Indoor allergens like pet dander and dust mites can also trigger eye allergies year round. Unlike pink eye, allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious, although the symptoms are very similar. It’s important to distinguish between allergic conjunctivitis and eye infections that could be threatening to eyesight. Normally, if the symptoms are being triggered by allergens, both eyes will be irritated. Often times, these symptoms occur alongside rhinitis nasal symptoms.

Learn more about eye allergies.

Symptoms of Eye Allergies:

  • Watery eyes
  • Itchiness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness
  • Grittiness
  • Eyelid swelling

Nasal Allergies

Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)

Allergic rhinitis is often caused by pollen, but can also be triggered by common indoor allergens including pet dander, mold, dust mites, and cockroach particles. Hay fever is often characterized by irritating symptoms in the nose, throat, eyes, ears, skin, and roof of the mouth.

Symptoms of Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis):

  • Itching in the nose, roof of the mouth, throat, eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose (congestion)
  • Runny nose
  • Dark circles under the eyes (allergic shiners)
  • Tearing eyes

Sinusitis (Rhinosinusitis)

Allergic reactions can trigger sinusitis and keep the mucus in the sinus cavities from draining properly. Allergy testing with Dr. Brauer can identify what allergic triggers might be causing your recurring sinus infections.

Symptoms of Sinusitis:

  • Thick yellow-green nasal discharge
  • Painful pressure in cheeks and forehead
  • Postnasal drip, often with a bad taste
  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Toothache

Note from Dr. Brauer

Do you ever head inside after a Friday night ballgame, trip to the pumpkin patch in October, or an outdoor concert and get lots of sleep but wake up tired and congested? Have you ever felt the need to wake yourself up in the morning and improve your breathing by taking a long, steamy shower?

As allergists, through the years we have studied this fatigue element known as Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL). Think of it this way, your allergic immune system exerts itself physiologically while you are sleeping – you might as well be running stairs! Multiple studies demonstrate that treating the cause with allergen immunotherapy (allergy shots) or even newly FDA-approved daily tablets can decrease this exertion, and you may wake up rested.

Allergy shots have been demonstrated to improve patients’ health-related quality of life and often results in fewer missed work/school days, better performance at work/school or athletics, and well rested mornings!