Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance. In patients who have allergies, their immune system identifies allergens as harmful, even though they aren’t.
Read more on eye allergies.
“Our eyes are perhaps the most vulnerable parts of our body to allergies. The main defenses for our eyes are tears, eyelids and eyelashes — but our eyes are otherwise exposed to allergens."
Common seasonal allergens include pollen, trees, grasses and ragweed. Patients with perennial allergies experience symptoms all year long. Common perennial allergens include dust mites, mold, pets and cockroaches.
Our main two areas of focus are:
- Nasal Allergies (Allergic Rhinitis): When patients experience inflammation of the nose due to allergies.
- Eye Allergies (Allergic Conjunctivitis): When inflammation or irritation of the clear mucous membrane lining of the inner eyelids and sclera occurs due to allergies.
- Nasal obstruction
- Watery eyes
- Itchy, dry eyes
- Redness in eyes
- Burning/stinging sensation in eyes
- Foreign body sensation in eyes
- Blurry vision
- Swollen eyelids
Diagnosis and Treatment
At Mass Eye and Ear, we offer testing and treatment for environmental allergies. Our doctors often make a diagnosis based on a collection of certain symptoms that suggest allergic rhinitis or allergic conjunctivitis. The diagnosis is generally confirmed with an allergy test. In both cases, identifying and reducing exposure to the allergen is often the best treatment.
Patients with nasal allergies can be treated with medications such as nasal steroid sprays, topical or oral antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, and allergy shots.
Meet Our Team
Allergic rhinitis patients are seen by our Sinus Center, which is comprised of surgeons and supportive staff specially trained to care for your sinuses and related nasal disorders. Allergic conjunctivitis patients are seen by cornea and refractive surgery specialists who are dedicated to the health and functioning of the cornea.
Did you know?
Allergies affect 25 percent of the world’s population (or 1 in 4 people).
The symptoms of allergies are very similar to chronic rhinosinusitis, but a key distinction is that allergic mucus is usually clear and watery, whereas chronic rhinosinusitis mucus is usually thick and discolored.
An increasing number of eye allergy cases are related to medications, contact lens wear, and certain cosmetics.