Redness and Itching? It could be Allergies . . . or maybe not!
As we head straight into a beautiful Springtime, that has many people heading straight to their pharmacy for allergy medicine. There is no doubt that the itchy, watery, red eyes that occur when you come into contact with an allergen can be frustrating. What would be worse, though, is treating what you think is an allergy only to continually struggle with uncomfortable symptoms.
Self-treating what you assume to be allergies could backfire, leaving you wondering what is really going on with your eyes. We’re going to tell you what it might be – infection.
It is important to discern infection from allergies, obviously, because if you have one, thinking you have the other, it is quite possible that you will inadvertently share a virus with those around you. Here, we will point out the similarities and differences between allergies and infection so you don’t make the mistake of mistreating.
Allergies may cause your eyes to:
- Become red
All of these same symptoms may occur if your eyes become infected. However, infection also usually causes you to feel:
- Sensitive to light
- Pain in or around the eyes
- A foreign object sensation
One of the key differences between allergies and infection comes down to discharge. When the problem is allergies, the discharge from the eyes will resemble excess tear production. Infection, on the other hand, typically causes discharge to appear thick.
Can you Reduce your Risk?
Eye infections are not only painful and frustrating, but they can be contagious, so appropriate treatment is necessary. And, as much as possible, you want to avoid situations that may transfer bacteria or viruses into the eye. A prime way to minimize risk is to wash your hands often. Children who may forget to wash their hands at school or at work may do better with antibacterial wipes or hand sanitizer. In addition to washing hands, infection risk is minimized by refraining from touching the eyes.
Do you need help determining if your eyes are infected or affected by allergies? We are happy to see you in our Pasadena eye care center. Call (713) 473-5715.