Allergy symptoms may be sign of something more serious

Are people across the UK potentially ignoring signs of dangerous eye conditions by misdiagnosing symptoms as allergies? That’s the question Specsavers is asking this Allergy Awareness Week (25 April to 1 May).

Bloodshot, burning and swollen eyes are all symptoms of common allergies like hay fever. And with the summer months fast approaching and temperatures on the rise, so are the levels of pollen in the air.

However, many don’t realise that symptoms typically associated with allergies could also be the signs of a potentially serious eye condition.

Dr Nigel Best, Specsavers’ clinical spokesperson, says: ‘Dismissing streaming or puffy eyes as just hay fever is a mistake many people make during the summer months. If you start to experience discomfort or irritation that doesn’t go away with the help of antihistamines, there’s a chance it could be the sign of an eye infection.’

Irritated, achy and red eyes can also be a sign of iritis which in some cases can lead to serious complications including cataracts, glaucoma, calcium deposited on the cornea, swelling within the retina or irregular pupil from scar tissue sticking to the cornea, making the iris sluggish in its reaction to light.

Dr Best added: ‘It’s important to seek the advice of your optometrist as he or she will be able to provide guidance on the correct care and solutions. In addition, a number of Specsavers stores now offer eye health clinics where you can receive treatment for a range of minor eye conditions without needing to visit your GP or hospital.’

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