Get Eye Allergy Relief in St. Louis

See an Eye Allergy Specialist in St. Louis

Are allergies affecting your eyes in St. Louis? Dr. Sonia Cajigal is a board-certified eye allergy specialist in St. Louis that can help you find relief from your eye allergies. Contact us at St. Louis Family Allergy to learn more about eye allergy testing, symptom management techniques, and treatment options for you and your children!

“The whole staff are friendly and helpful. Dr. Cajigal was friendly, professional, and informative, and took the time to explain the tests and what was going on with my allergies. She is so knowledgeable and really cared about how I was feeling. I would highly recommend this practice if you suffer from allergies and asthma.”

– Sue D, July 2020

Eye Allergy Doctor Sonia Cajigal of St. Louis Family Allergy in St. Louis, Missouri
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About Eye Allergies

Eye Allergy Overview

Eye Allergy Symptoms

Eye Allergy Test

Eye Allergy Treatment

An eye allergic reaction occurs when something you are allergic to comes into contact with the antibodies attached to the mast cells in your eyes. This reaction causes the cells to release antihistamines and other substances, which then cause the blood vessels in your eye to leak and become itchy, red, and watery. Eye allergies specifically affect the conjunctiva, the thin membrane that covers the eye and the inside of the eyelid. For this reason, eye allergies are medically referred to as allergic conjunctivitis or some other specific form of conjunctivitis.

Types of Eye Allergies

Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is caused by seasonal outdoor allergens such as pollen, grass, or mold spores. far the most common type of eye allergy. This is by far the most common type of eye allergy. Seasonal eye allergies often present alongside runny nose, sneezing, and nasal congestion symptoms that are typical of hay fever and other seasonal allergies.

Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis

Perennial allergic conjunctivitis is caused by year-round, indoor allergens like pet dander and dust mites.

Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is a specific type of eye allergy that tends to affect boys and young men that also have eczema or asthma. If left untreated, this type of eye allergy can impair vision.

Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis

Atopic keratoconjunctivities is another specific type of eye allergy that affects older individuals, mostly older men with a history of allergic dermatitis. If left untreated, atopic keratoconjunctivitis can result in scarring of the cornea and its delicate membrane.

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

Contact allergic conjunctivitis can affect individuals that wear contact lenses, causing lens discomfort. In this case, allergies are caused by irritation from the contact lenses or by proteins from tears that stick to the surface of a contact lens.

Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis

Giant papillary conjunctivitis is a form of contact allergic conjunctivitis that can also affect individuals that wear contact lenses. This type of eye allergy causes fluid sacs to form in the upper lining of the inner eyelid, causing more severe eye allergy symptoms.

See an Eye Allergy Specialist

in St. Louis, Missouri

Woman with eye allergies in St. Louis, Missouri

Eye Allergy Symptoms

While eye allergy symptoms share symptoms with other diseases of the eye, a distinguishing feature of eye allergies is that they usually affect both eyes simultaneously, whereas eye infections and other non-allergic eye irritations usually only affect one eye. Eye allergy symptoms can range from mildly annoying redness to severe inflammation that can impair vision.

The most common eye allergy symptoms are:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Excessive tearing
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Dark circles under the eyes

However, more serious types of eye allergy symptoms can also include:

  • Production of thick mucus
  • Feeling of having something in the eye
  • Aversion to light
  • Blurred vision

If your eye allergy symptoms persist, an eye allergy specialist can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms.

Get Eye Allergy Relief

in St. Louis, Missouri

Woman with eye allergies rubbing eye outside in St. Louis, Missouri

Eye Allergy Test

An eye allergy test typically begins with a visual examination of your eyes with a microscope to see if blood vessels are swollen on the surface of the eye. Your allergist may also scrape a sample from your conjunctiva and test it for white blood cells that are overrepresented in areas of the eye affected by allergies. Dr. Cajigal may also run other allergy tests, including blood tests and skin tests, to help you better understand your allergies. Taken together, these testing techniques will help Dr. Cajigal develop a personalized eye allergy treatment plan to help you get relief from your eye allergies.

See an Eye Allergy Specialist

in St. Louis, Missouri

Woman using eyedrops to treat eye allergy symptoms in St. Louis, Missouri

Eye Allergy Treatment

Eye allergy treatment can consist of allergen avoidance techniques, eyedrops, oral medications, and/or allergy shots. A variety of prescription and over-the-counter eye drops and medications are used to treat eye allergies, and their effectiveness will depend on your medical history, your symptoms, and what you’re allergic to.

Allergen Avoidance

Allergy avoidance is the most effective approach to eye allergy management. If you suffer from seasonal or perennial allergic conjunctivitis, these steps can help you minimize allergen exposure:

Outdoor Allergy Avoidance:

  • Check your local pollen counts whenever you check the weather
  • Limit outdoor activities during times of high pollen counts
  • Wear sunglasses and a wide brimmed hat to reduce pollen exposure when outdoors
  • Change clothes and shower as soon as you get home if you’ve spent a lot of time outdoors
  • Keep windows closed, especially during high pollen and mold seasons
  • Apply saline drops to the eyes after being outdoors to wash away allergens from the ocular lining

Indoor Allergy Avoidance:

  • Keep windows closed during high pollen and mold seasons
  • Steam clean carpets or remove carpets altogether
  • Avoid air drying laundry outside
  • Keep pets out of the bedroom to reduce pet dander in your bedding
  • Vacuum with a HEPA filter to reduce dust in your home
  • Wash your bed linens and pillowcases in hot water and detergent frequently to reduce allergens
  • Use dust mite proof covers for pillows, comforters, duvets, mattresses and box springs

Dr. Cajigal can also provide tailored allergy avoidance advice for your specific environments and circumstances.

Allergy Eye Drops

There are several prescription and over-the-counter allergy eye drops and medications that may provide eye allergy relief. We highly recommend consulting with an allergist before starting new allergy medications.

Over-The-Counter Allergy Eye Drops

Tear Substitutes: Artificial tears can be used to wash allergens from the eye, moisten the eye, and provide a soothing sensation. They can be used as allergy eye drops for kids and adults while being safe to use as frequently as needed.

Decongestant Eye Drops: Decongestant eye drops reduce the redness associated with eye allergies by narrowing the blood vessels in the eye. When using decongestant over-the-counter allergy eye drops, It’s very important that you follow the instructions on the label. Prolonged use of some eye drops can cause a “rebound” effect that actually makes eye allergy symptoms worse. Decongestant eyedrops are also known to interact poorly with certain conditions, like glaucoma.

Prescription Allergy Eye Drops

Antihistamine Eye Drops: Antihistamine eye drops can reduce itching, redness, and swelling. They can be used as allergy eye drops for kids 3 years and older and adults.

Mast Cell Stabilizer Eye Drops: Mast cell stabilizer eye drops can help prevent eye allergy symptoms if taken prior to allergen exposure. They can be used as allergy eye drops for kids 3 years and older and adults.

Combination Antihistamine and Mast Cell Stabilizer Eye Drops: These newer eye drops contain both antihistamine and mast cell stabilizer components, providing eye allergy symptom relief and prevention.

NSAID Eye Drops: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) eye drops can help relieve itching.

Corticosteroid Eye Drops: Corticosteroid eye drops are prescribed for chronic, severe eye allergy symptoms. Corticosteroid eye drops are effective, but can have serious side effects, such as glaucoma, cataracts, and infection. Long-term use of corticosteroid eye drops should be overseen by your allergist to ensure that these risks are appropriately managed.

Oral Antihistamines

Oral antihistamines can also provide short-term eye allergy symptom relief. Over-the-counter antihistamines can cause side effects such as sedation, excitability dizziness, or disturbed coordination. On the other hand, non-sedating prescriptive oral antihistamines typically do not cause these side effects. Long-term reliance on over-the-counter or prescriptive antihistamines is not recommended for eye allergies because they can cause dryness and potentially worsen eye allergy symptoms.

Allergy Shots (Immunotherapy)

Allergy shots can provide long-term resistance to certain allergens. Allergy shots work by improving your tolerance to the substance that’s causing your allergic reactions. Tiny amounts of the allergen are injected with gradually increasing doses over time.

References

[1] American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: https://acaai.org/
[2] Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America: https://www.aafa.org/
More Specialties

Asthma

Drug Allergies

Eye Allergies

Food Allergies

Nasal Allergies

Skin Allergies

Allergy Shots

Allergy Testing

Biologic Therapy

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Visit Eye Allergy Specialist Dr. Sonia Cajigal of St. Louis Family Allergy in St. Louis, Missouri

Eye Allergist
Dr. Sonia Cajigal

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St. Louis Family Allergy Google review score badge
"Dr. Cajigal was friendly, professional, and informative. She took the time to explain the tests and what was going on with my allergies. She is so knowledgeable and really cared about how I was feeling. I would highly recommend this practice if you suffer from allergies and asthma."

- Sue D, July 2020

“Dr Cajigal is a great listener. She trusts her patients instead of treating them as if they are not the experts of their own bodies. I really appreciate that (many doctors do not have that quality). She also immediately treats the symptoms instead of waiting to see if things clear. I use her for my children and myself. We have never left her office feeling as if it was a waste of time.”

– Stephanie, August 2020

"Great Allergist!"

- Ann H, December 2018

"She is the best."

- Stephen W, June 2020

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