Can Mold Cause Allergic Conjunctivitis?
When you hear the term "mold exposure", what are the first symptoms that come to mind? Probably the most well-known symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or sneezing.
However, did you know mold exposure can also affect your eyes? This may especially be the case in allergic conjunctivitis.
That pesky mold in your bathroom, the water damage in your basement, or the moisture and mold growth you aren't even aware of, could be the culprit behind your red, itchy, and inflamed eyes.
What Is Allergic Conjunctivitis?
Allergic conjunctivitis is when the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and the white part of your eye, becomes inflamed. This condition is usually caused by allergens such as dust, pollen, and mold spores.
Allergic conjunctivitis can be grouped into two categories: seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis usually occurs during allergy season in the spring and summer months. During this time your exposure to allergens such as pollen and fungal spores increases.
Perennial allergic conjunctivitis occurs when the condition persists throughout the year regardless of seasonal allergies. This type of allergic conjunctivitis is usually a result of indoor exposure to allergens such as mold spores, pet dander, and dust.
Symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis can vary but the most common include:
- Itchy eyes
- Burning eyes
- Red eyes
- An intense urge to rub the eyes
- Watery or white discharge
- Swollen eyelids
- Discomfort when looking at bright lights
Who Is at Risk for Allergic Conjunctivitis?
You may be more at risk for developing allergic conjunctivitis if you have an underlying medical condition involving hyperactivity of the immune system. You may also be at risk for allergic conjunctivitis if you have a family history of allergic diseases.
A normal immune-mediated response to an allergen involves the production of antibodies, specifically immunoglobulin E (IgE), which then instruct certain cells to release chemicals and address the allergen. In an individual with an underlying condition or hyperactive immune system, this response is heightened, leading to intense symptoms.
You might have an overreactive immune system if you get symptoms besides just those of allergic conjunctivitis.
These could include:
- Itchy red bumps on the skin
- Eczema (atopic dermatitis)
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
- Nasal congestion
- Nasal discharge
With an overreactive immune system, you may also have an increased risk of developing allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. This condition occurs when symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis coincide with those of rhinitis. Symptoms of rhinitis include nasal congestion, thick nasal discharge, and itching of the nose.
How Mold Causes Allergic Conjunctivitis
Considering mold is a potent allergen, it can easily cause allergic conjunctivitis. Mold spores are airborne allergens so they can enter the body through the eyes. Your eyes can also come into contact with mold spores if you unknowingly touch a contaminated surface and then rub them.
Once you come into contact with mold spores, the immune response described earlier ensues. As a result of this mold exposure and allergic reaction, the eye can become inflamed and in some cases, infected.
Besides the eyes, long-term mold exposure affects other organ systems such as the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Long-term mold exposure may even lead to autoimmunity. Autoimmunity refers to a physiological state in which the immune system attacks its own healthy cells.
Symptoms of Mold-Induced Allergic Conjunctivitis
Symptoms of mold-induced allergic conjunctivitis include the following:
- Intense itching of the eyes
- Burning eyes
- Mucus discharge
- Watery eyes
- Red and inflamed eyes
- Appearance of widened blood vessels
- Puffy eyelids
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
Some of the most common molds that can cause these symptoms include Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, and Penicillum.
Are Your Red and Itchy Eyes a Result of Mold?
Considering several other allergens can cause allergic conjunctivitis, it can be hard to decipher if mold is the main culprit. Ask yourself these questions to help you differentiate if your red and itchy eyes could be from mold exposure:
- Do you have a previously diagnosed mold allergy?
- Have you recently moved to a new home?
- Do you suspect water damage anywhere in your home?
- Are you experiencing symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis regardless of allergy season?
If you answered yes to any of the above, mold should be the top suspect for your eye symptoms.
Another key indicator that your allergic conjunctivitis is a result of mold is that you're also experiencing other symptoms of mold exposure. These symptoms could include:
- Shortness of breath
- Runny nose
- Skin rashes
- Numbness and tingling in extremities
- Joint pain
How to Treat Mold-Induced Allergic Conjunctivitis
If you suspect you have mold-induced allergic conjunctivitis, the first step is to seek guidance from your doctor or a healthcare professional. Based on their examination, they may offer several treatment options.
Common treatments for mold-induced allergic conjunctivitis include cold or warm compresses, prescription eye drops, saline eye drops, and oral antihistamines.
After consulting with your doctor or a healthcare professional, the next crucial step to addressing mold-induced allergic conjunctivitis is calling a professional mold remediation company, such as Mold KO.
Your bothersome symptoms will continue to come back despite medical treatment if you don't address your mold exposure.
Why It's Important to Seek Professional Mold Remediation Services
There's little time to waste when it comes to mold inspection and remediation services so it's important to seek out a reputable company. Receiving services from an inexperienced or uneducated mold remediation company can worsen the problem at hand. Trying to rid of the mold yourself using DIY methods can also exacerbate the problem and potentially lead to the spread of spores.
Your family and home deserve experienced inspectors and highly trained technicians such as us at Mold KO. We've been in this industry for years and understand the toll mold infestation takes on your finances and health.
We make sure to use the latest equipment and most up-to-date procedures. We want to eradicate the mold and make sure it never comes back so you and your family can return to living happy and healthy lives.
Our expertise and experience are reflected in our inspection and remediation processes. We find all areas damaged by mold using thermal cameras and moisture meters. Protecting your and your family's health is our top priority, so once the infected areas are identified, we isolate and contain them to prevent any further spreading of spores.
We thoroughly remove any damaged materials and then begin treating the affected areas using EPA-registered fungicides. HEPA air purifiers are used during the entire remediation process to improve air quality and prevent the spreading of spores.
Once the remediation process is complete, we clean everything up and ensure the treatment was successful. Our efficient techniques allow us to get your property back to normal as quickly as possible. This also means getting rid of your mold-induced symptoms as quickly as possible!
Call Mold KO for Professional Mold Remediation Services
Proper mold inspection and remediation is a necessary measure to protect the health of your home and family. You don't have to deal with the debilitating symptoms of mold exposure. We can help. Call us today at 888-253-4551 for exceptional services! We've got your back in several locations: Baltimore, MD, Alexandria, VA, Elizabeth, NJ,Dallas, TX and others.