- Patient Resources
While eye allergies and eye infections share many of the same symptoms, the similarities stop there. These two conditions are caused by different things, require different forms of treatment, and eye infections, in particular, can cause real problems when left untreated. For these reasons, knowing which condition you’re dealing with can save you much time, discomfort, and maybe even protect your vision from damage.
Read on as an optometrist Lake Stevens, WA talks about the difference between eye infection and eye allergies and why it’s important to get a proper diagnosis.
For some people, certain harmless particles, like pollen and dust mites, trigger the body’s immune response unnecessarily. Allergies result when these particles or allergens are present in your surrounding environment. The redness, itchiness, burning, and watery eyes brought on by eye allergies is the body’s immune response in action.
Here are just a few other things that can cause eye allergies:
Unlike eye allergies, eye infections are caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, which are harmful agents. A common example of an eye infection is conjunctivitis or pink eye, which can be caused by a virus or a bacterium.
Symptoms of eye infection include:
Eye infections can also be caused by severe eye allergies that go untreated. This is because the inflammation that develops from an allergy can make it easier for bacteria to grow. And while eye allergies can be uncomfortable, eye infections can actually cause real damage to the eyes. Eye infections are also contagious.
As you can see, while the causes of eye allergies and eye infections differ, the two conditions share similar symptoms. So, it’s important to know which condition you have or you take the risk of “self-treating” the wrong one, which can lead to serious problems down the road. An eye doctor can properly diagnose the problem and treat it.
Once diagnosed, an optometrist will provide you with a treatment plan, which may include medication and recommended lifestyle changes. For allergies, treatments work to reduce inflammation. Common eye allergy treatments include antihistamines and topical medications.
With eye infections, the cause of the problem will determine the type of treatment an optometrist administers. Something else to keep in mind is if you do have an eye infection, damage to the eye may be present. In this case, an eye doctor can spot any damage and treat it as well.
If you have more questions or wish to schedule an eye wellness exam, please feel free to call us, your local optometrist Marysville, MD, anytime!