Do your eyes look or feel like this at any time of the year? If they do, then you may have eye allergies or allergic conjunctivitis.
Allergies are the body's hypersensitivity reaction to particles in the environment, such as dust, mold and mildews, pollen, animal dander (dead skin), etc. or, to substances in foods. As most allergy sufferers know, symptoms can range from mild eye or skin itching, runny nose and sneezing to hives, asthmatic attacks and possibly even death. As many as 22 million Americans suffer from allergies. Most of these people experience their worst symptoms in the spring and fall months when there is the highest concentration of pollen in the air. This is commonly called "hay fever" or "seasonal hay fever".
In most cases, common allergies can be effectively treated with over-the-counter oral anti-histamines and/or decongestants. These medications calm the allergic reaction by counter-acting the chemicals (histamines) in the body that give that itchy, runny, uncomfortable feeling. Though they do make you feel better, they can dry out your system and cause dry eyes, mouth, and skin, as well as irritability and insomnia. If an allergic reaction is severe enough, allergy shots may be necessary.
It is possible to experience itchy, red, irritated, watery eyes with and without the associated systemic symptoms i.e. sneezing, nasal congestion etc. This eye condition is called ALLERGIC CONJUNCTIVITIS. In this case, the best treatment option is an anti-histamine/decongestant eye drop. Since the drops are placed directly on the eyes, they provide faster and more effective relief than oral medications, without any systemic side effects.
There are over-the-counter drops available such as Naphcon-A, Alcon-A, and Visine-A that provide relief for mild itching. If these do not work, there are stronger, more potent medications that Drs. Berke can prescribe. As well, cold compresses (ice wrapped in a washcloth or towel) placed over the eyes, used in conjunction with the eye drops, can give additional soothing relief.
If you want more information on allergic conjunctivitis or allergies in general, take a look at the following links: