Spring is in the Air….Here come the Allergies!
As the sights and sounds of spring start to pop up around us, as an optometrist, one thing comes to mind immediately: eye allergies.
Eye allergies typically affect both eyes equally and are characterized by itching, redness, and tearing. Often patients will also experience eyelid swelling, increased eye discharge, soreness in and around the eyes or even blurred vision.
Eye allergies are extremely common and can be made worse when mixed with contact lenses, eye cosmetics, pets, LASIK surgery, dry eye problems, and adverse environmental conditions (ie: wind and dirt to name a few). Many people who suffer from eye allergies also suffer from nasal and respiratory allergies which cause that annoying sneezing, wheezing and general congestion so many of us experience during the warmer months.
Many allergy sufferers reach for oral antihistamines with decongestants when allergy season sets in. These medications, like ClaritinD, ZyrtecD, and AllegraD, work great for symptoms involving the ears, nose and throat. Unfortunately, these oral medications often do not deliver adequate relief to the eyes. They also happen to have the unfortunate side effect of causing or worsening underlying dry eye symptoms.
Just about the time you are ready to itch your eyes out of their sockets, take comfort in knowing you do not have to suffer through another season of misery! Help exists!
There are actually several treatment options available for treating eye allergies depending on the severity, type of reaction, and your occupational/recreational needs. Allergy eye drops, in particular, are extremely effective, very safe and minimally inconvenient. The most effective medications require a prescription, but for mild allergies there are even a couple of over-the-counter medications which are surprisingly effective.
Dr. King and I would be very happy to visit with you prior to or any time during allergy season if you are concerned about your eyes. Remember, there is no need to suffer endlessly, we can help! Keep an eye on your children as well, we are seeing an increasing number of children with moderate to severe eye allergies.
Make an appointment to see us and we will do our best to make sure you can enjoy every bit of summer!
Dr. Candace Hoff