Eye Allergies Bothering You? Here is a little information from Dr. Nicole Shams:

Ocular allergies are a common problem in spring and fall for many people. Current studies estimate a prevalence rate of up to 40% of the population being affected during allergy season. Ocular allergies contribute to the burden of nasal allergies and are often underdiagnosed and undertreated, except when they are severe.

The target tissue in the eye is the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane, that covers most of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. Most people with ocular allergies have some degree of conjunctival redness, swelling and itching, which is sometimes accompanied by a mild watery or ropy discharge.

Your optometrist can correctly diagnose and treat allergic conjunctivitis as opposed to an eye infection, pink eye or other serious eye problems, that cause redness in conjunctiva.

Over-the-counter eye drops are usually the first go-to products for eye allergy sufferers. These products often work in cases of mild ocular allergies, but not in more severe cases. It’s always best to consult your optometrist about what type of drops would be best. There are several prescription grade allergy eye drops that your optometrist can prescribe for you. Sometimes, even a mild steroid eyedrop might be the best first line treatment to get severe ocular allergies under control.

During allergy season, as well as year-round, for ocular comfort, it’s always good to try these tips:

  • Don’t forget your sunglasses! They can help block pollen or other allergens from getting into your eyes.
  • Wash dirty clothes and sheets and pillowcases often and keep windows closed at home or work during allergy/ pollen season.
  • Take a shower when you get home to rinse out the pollen or other allergens that have accumulated in your hair. This will also help keep your pillowcase allergen free.
  • Finally, a good ol’ home remedy for ocular allergies is frequent cold compresses on your eyes.

Consulting your optometrist ensures you will be evaluated for all possible causes of red eyes and tested for more severe and serious eye diseases. Dr. Nicole Shams @ Kirkland Vision Center