Spring Has Sprung, and So Has the Allergy Season!

Ocular allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis are quite common. Eye allergies can happen to people of all ages. They occur when the sensitive eyes react or come in contact with an allergen. Allergens are commonly harmless, but can irritate sensitive eyes in accompanied with nasal allergies such as sneezing, itchy, and stuffy nose.

Your allergies can be seasonal allergies, which are usually worse in spring and/or fall, Food allergies, allergies from pet dander, Environmental allergies such as from dust and smoke. Some people can also be allergic to preservative chemicals in lubricating eyedrops or prescribed eyedrops. As the seasons change, so do the challenges for those sensitive to pollen, mold, dust mites, and more.

What are the symptoms of eye allergies?

  • The most common symptoms include –
  • Itchy Eyes
  • Red, swollen or puffy eyes
  • Tearing or burning of the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Discomfort or mild pain

What causes eye allergies?

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused when an allergen comes in contact with your eye. The allergen irritates the eye, and the eyes natural response is to produce a substance called histamine to off the allergen. This reaction causes the eyelids and the conjunctiva to become red, swollen, itchy, watery.

What should you do if you experience above symptoms?

A doctor of Optometry can properly check to see if you have an eye infection or allergic conjunctivitis. They will use a slit lamp microscope and floursciene dye to accurately check for these signs of eye allergies, such as small lesions ( papillae ) on your bulbular conjunctiva or swollen blood vessels on the surface of the eye. Most people that are affected due to allergies usually have a family history of allergies as well.

How are eye allergies treated ?

The best way to treat eye allergies is to avoid or limit contact with the substance that is causing a problem. But you have to know what to avoid and if necessary an allergist can perform a skin or a blood test to help identify the specific allergens.

If you are allergic to pollen avoid going outdoors as much as possible, when the pollen counts are the highest. Sunglasses or eyeglasses can help to prevent pollen getting into your eyes. Keeping your windows closed and using air conditioning both in your house and in your car can help lower your exposure to pollen.

If you’re allergic to mold or dust, try to keep the humidity level in your home to about 30 to 50% and keep your house clean while paying special attention to your bedroom.

Pets can also be a source of allergies for some people and keeping animals outside of your house and more importantly, not allowing pets in your bedroom, can create an allergen free room.

All over-the-counter and anti histamine medications and ice packs over the closed eyes can further provide comfort.

Another important step for managing eye allergies is to avoid constant, touching or rubbing off the eyes which can further exacerbate symptoms. Cleaning your hands with warm water and soap helps to destroy common allergens.

Contacts lens wearers should avoid wearing contact lenses during the allergy season.

Can Doctor of Optometry prescribe eyedrop for allergic conjunctivitis?

Yes! Below is the list of eyedrop’s, that your optometrist will recommend:

Preservative free artificial tears

Antihistamine/ mast cell stabilizer drops

Steroid eyedrops

Oral antihistamines

What are the different treatments available for children suffering from allergies?

As with adults, managing children’s allergies begins with avoiding known triggers. Persistent symptoms should warrant a visit to the optometrist who can help confirm an allergy and recommend an appropriate treatment plan for your child. This may include comforting the eye with Wash cold cloth, prescription eyedrops or even a referral to allergist for formal allergy test.

Despite all the different remedies that are there to deal with the all type allergies, there is no cure. It is recommended that you consult your optometrist to recommend the best therapy to provide relief from seasonal allergies.

Our Eye Doctor’s at Precious Eyes Optometry provides comprehensive eye care which includes looking for signs of allergic conjunctivitis and formulating a treatment plan to deal with your allergies. During the eye examination, your optometrist can recommend wearing prescription glasses if you are a contact lens wearer and if impossible can recommend you eyedrop and daily disposable contact lenses. You can schedule an appointment with one of our optometrists or call us on 604-746-3937.

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