Are ocular allergies hereditary? Yes, research indicates that eye allergies, like baldness, height and eye colour, are often hereditary. They occur due to the processes that may be associated with other kinds of allergic responses.
An allergy is caused when the body reacts to a foreign substance that is termed as an allergen. Most human beings exhibit an Immunoglobulin E response as a defence mechanism against parasitic infections. However some others over respond to antigens present commonly in the environment. This is a hereditary disposition and is termed as atopy. It is observed that harmless non parasitic antigens such as dust is capable of stimulating an over production of Immunoglobulin E in atopic individuals.
In simpler non technical terms, an ocular allergy is simply an overreaction to foreign substances by the immune system of the eyes.
An allergy can also personify itself with symptoms such as excessive production of tears and mucus in the eyes of an allergic or overly sensitive individual. Ocular allergies often co-exist with other hypersensitive situations such as high temperature and even with skin allergies.
A recent study in the US showed that nearly 59 percent of people in the US have allergy symptoms and nearly 75 percent of them exhibit symptoms that affect the eyes. Allergies can also trigger eye conditions such as conjunctivitis, and asthma. Several people are affected by Rhinoconjuctivitis that is a result of combined nasal and eye allergies.
What can cause an ocular allergy?
There are many allergens present in the environment that can cause an allergy when they come in contact with your eyes or nose. A few of them include mold, dust, cat or any other pet dander, and pollen. These airborne allergens cause symptoms such as- Red or itchy eyes or swollen eyelids, sneezing etc. An allergic reaction may also be triggered by allergens such as cosmetics, perfumes, certain eye and skin medication, and also smoke.
Though it has been established that ocular allergies are hereditary and that it can surface at any age, there are several ways one can protect themselves from getting exposed to allergens that trigger an allergy.
- Keep your house clean and free from dust and animal dander.
- Stay within the confines of an air conditioned room when there is a lot of pollen in the air.
- Use high quality furnaces that help trap airborne allergens and replace the furnace filters regularly.
Alicia Surge has worked for several Eye Clinics in the U.S. and amd is now with Sugarland Eye & Laser Center - http://www.sugarlandeyes.com/ - as an administrative coordinator. She aims to help other people to gain a better vision by getting rid of glasses and contacts, and learning about LASIK.