How to Deal with Ocular and Eye Allergies

by Aug 7, 2019


The warm summer months bring the joy of more time spent outside, enjoying the sunshine and the fresh air.  For many unlucky people, they also come with an increase in allergy symptoms. Even through April and May are typically when the pollen count is at the highest, allergy sufferers can notice their symptoms all summer long and even into the fall months.  Beyond sneezing, wheezing, and a runny nose, allergy season frequently causes red, itchy, watery eyes. If you are unprepared, these symptoms can be burdensome. We are here to teach you more about ocular allergies, how to avoid them, and what to do if you are affected.  


Signs and Symptoms of Ocular Allergies

Allergic conjunctivitis is the term given to the type of pink eye that is caused by allergies.  It is the result of an immune reaction triggered within the ocular tissue, most commonly the inner lining of the eyelids, that results in an array of uncomfortable symptoms.  The classic symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis include eyes that are extremely itchy, and noticeably bloodshot. Some people experience a mucus discharge, others may have eyes that become watery.  Even the skin around the eyes can become red and swollen. Allergic conjunctivitis can be diagnosed in a routine eye examination by an optometrist, who can identify symptoms and evaluate the ocular tissue using a microscope to determine if signs of an allergic reaction are present.  


Treatment of Eye Allergies

Luckily, allergic conjunctivitis is a non-contagious form of pink eye.  However, the symptoms may not resolve on their own. In many cases ocular allergies cause enough discomfort to warrant treatment.  Depending on the severity and specific cause of ocular allergies, different treatment approaches can be taken. Many people who suffer from eye allergies find significant relief with over-the-counter medicated eye drops that reduce the immune response in the ocular tissue and alleviate symptoms.  If over-the-counter eye are ineffective, there are some prescription-only medications that are stronger and more successful in treating severe cases of allergic conjunctivitis. It is important to remember that many over-the-counter eye drops that advertise themselves for redness relief may be effective in reducing the blood shot appearance of eyes suffering from allergic conjunctivitis, but they will do nothing to combat the uncomfortable itching or other symptoms most commonly associated with the condition.  For people who additionally suffer from systemic symptoms, like hives, wheezing, or congestion, a primary care doctor can recommend or prescribe an oral medication, such as an antihistamine, that can ease systemic symptoms in addition to reducing ocular symptoms.  


Reducing Your Risk for Allergic Conjunctivitis

Depending on location, avoiding allergens can be nearly impossible.  However, there are several recommendations that can be followed in order to reduce your risk of allergic conjunctivitis.  During high pollen times, limit your exposure to allergens by keeping windows and doors closed and maintaining the filters in your furnace and air conditioners.  If you are spending lots of time outdoors during allergy season, wash your face and eyelids with warm soap and water after extended outside time to reduce the likelihood of an allergic response. 

Our eye doctors and staff at EyeDocs Family Eye Care excel in the diagnosis of ocular and eye allergies.  Our optometrists can recommend both prescription and over the counter eye drops to help with your symptoms.  Call us at 937-770-1265 or schedule an eye exam appointment online.  Our optometrists provide the highest quality eye care services in the Brookeville, OH 45309 area.

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