My eyes are red and puffy. What causes this?


The most common cause is seasonal allergies. When my patients come in, for this reason, I will differentiate between ocular allergies and an eye infection.


Ocular allergies will most commonly present with itching, tearing, swollen eyelids, burning, and sensitivity to light. They can also be accompanied by nasal allergies which include a stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing, and sore throat.


Most seasonal ocular allergies are caused by grasses, trees, and weed pollens. But if you suffer all year long then other causes are pet dander, mold, and dust mites. Allergens cause the release of histamines that cause inflammation. When you rub your eyes, this causes more histamine to be released, causing more symptoms. It’s very important that you wash your hands frequently and try not to rub your eyes. 


I recommend using over the counter allergy eyedrops as well as artificial tears. Allergy drops will relieve the symptoms and artificial tears will help rinse away the allergen and relieve the irritated, dry eyes. Cold compresses are another help and I recommend using those 2-4 times a day. On occasion, I will recommend a decongestant to help with nasal allergies. Stronger prescription drops are available when over the counter remedies are not adequate.


Another way to help your ocular allergies is to always wear sunglasses. They will help keep the pollen out of your eyes. Run the AC and keep your windows closed, even when we have nice evenings and you are tempted to let that fresh air inside the house.


The only way to tell if you truly have ocular allergies is to see me. I can work with you to create a plan to help relieve your symptoms and make you more comfortable. If allergies continue, we will discuss other ways to alleviate the causes.


As always, if you have any questions, please reach out to me at the office at 573-449-4188. You can make an appointment by phone or request an appointment on our website at


All the Best,

Dr. Kramer

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