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Types of Nose and Eye Allergies

Types of Nose and Eye Allergies

Our immune system wards off harmful organisms that can cause disease or infections. However, in some cases, the immune system makes a mistake and produces a reaction to a harmless substance such as dust, pollen, or mold. This causes physical effects known as an allergic reaction. Different body parts can experience allergies. In this article, we discuss the different types of nose and eye allergies.

Nasal Allergies

Rhinitis or nasal allergies occur when a person inhales something they’re allergic to. Normally, a healthy nose can carry out its normal functions like allowing air to enter your lungs and hydrating that air with mucus. However, an allergic reaction can cause the tissues in the nasal passage to swell and thicken.

This causes the classic nasal congestion that most people with rhinitis experience. Other symptoms of an allergic reaction are thick, yellow mucus and a runny nose.

Rhinitis or nose allergies can be classified into several types, and sometimes it is difficult to identify the cause of an episode. Generally, the types of nose allergies include:

Allergic rhinitis

Allergic rhinitis is the most common type of rhinitis, and is usually triggered when you’re exposed to a certain substance or allergens. Common allergens include dust, certain fragrances, or animal fur.

Nonallergic rhinitis

In some cases, an allergen is not the cause of a rhinitis episode. This type of rhinitis is referred to as nonallergic rhinitis or vasomotor rhinitis. Experts are not sure about the exact cause of nonallergic rhinitis, but data shows that this condition causes the nerve endings in the nose to become sensitive.

Seasonal allergic rhinitis

This type of allergy is usually called “hay fever,” but doesn’t necessarily cause a person to develop a fever. If you usually experience rhinitis during spring, you may be allergic to pollen and/or have seasonal allergic rhinitis.

Perennial allergic rhinitis

Those who experience rhinitis all year long have perennial allergic rhinitis.

Eye Allergies

Eye allergies occur when an allergen comes into contact with the cells in the eyes that produce histamine, which wards off the substance causing a reaction. Most types of eye and nose allergies usually happen in conjunction. This means that people who have nasal allergies can also suffer from eye allergies.

Usually, eye allergies can cause mild but uncomfortable symptoms. Common eye allergy symptoms include watery eyes, swelling in the eyelids, and sensitivity to light.

Eye allergies can also be triggered by allergens that did not come into contact with the eyes. Some people get eye allergies by ingesting certain foods or from insect bites.

Just like with nasal allergies, over-the-counter antihistamines or artificial tears can treat an eye allergy. Types of eye allergies include:

Allergic conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the clear layer of tissue that protects the sclera or the white of the eye.

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis

This type of eye allergy causes bumps to form on the surface of the eye, specifically on the eyelid. Vernal keratoconjunctivitis usually occurs in younger males who are residing in areas with warm climates.

Atopic keratoconjunctivitis

Atopic keratoconjunctivitis is a type of eye allergy caused by a phenomenon called ‘atopy.” This occurs when an allergen comes into contact with the body and the immune system responds through an overproduction of antibodies. As a result, the lower eyelid can start to swell.

Giant papillary conjunctivitis

This type of eye allergy is especially common among people who use contact lenses. In giant papillary conjunctivitis, the eyelid becomes swollen or irritated. Unlike vernal keratoconjunctivitis, this eye allergy only affects the eyelids and not the cornea.

Key takeaway

The types of eye and nose allergies can be classified according to their causes and symptoms. Both eye and nose allergies can result from coming into contact with common allergens. If you continue to experience symptoms even after using over-the-counter medication, it may be best to consult your doctor.

Learn more about Allergies here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

The Immune System https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=85&contentid=p00630#:~:text=The%20immune%20system%20works%20to,part%20of%20the%20immune%20system Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Allergies and the Immune System https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/allergies-and-the-immune-system#:~:text=Allergies%20are%20the%20result%20of,develops%20antigens%20against%20a%20substance. Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Rhinitis, Nasal Allergy, Hay fever https://www.aafa.org/rhinitis-nasal-allergy-hayfever/ Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Allergic rhinitis – NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/allergic-rhinitis/ Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Nonallergic Rhinitis – Vasomotor Defined https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/nonallergic-rhinitis-vasomotor#:~:text=Nonallergic%20rhinitis%20(vasomotor%20rhinitis)%20is,t%20involve%20the%20immune%20system Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Hay Fever (Rhinitis) https://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions-dictionary/nonallergic-rhinitis-vasomotor#:~:text=Nonallergic%20rhinitis%20(vasomotor%20rhinitis)%20is,t%20involve%20the%20immune%20system Date Accessed November 25, 2020

What Are Eye Allergies? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/allergies Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Allergic conjunctivitis https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/allergic-conjunctivitis Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Vernal keratoconjunctivitis https://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/7854/vernal-keratoconjunctivitis Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis (AKC) https://www.umkelloggeye.org/conditions-treatments/atopic-keratoconjunctivitis#:~:text=Atopic%20keratoconjunctivitis%20(AKC)%20is%20the,may%20worsen%20in%20the%20winter Date Accessed November 25, 2020

Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/what-is-giant-papillary-conjunctivitis Date Accessed November 25, 2020

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Written by Kip Soliva Updated Jun 15
Medically reviewed by Elfred Landas, M.D.
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