Monday, May 7, 2012

Allergies are at it again!

Hello everyone,

Well, the grass in my yard finally grew enough to get cut lately. It's early May, and I've only have to cut it 2 times so far! It's been a pretty dry Spring, but the recent rains in early May is making that grass grow like crazy (especially after I did the annual Scott's treatment). Those two cuts were within the past week! But with the growing grass, comes the allergens: grass pollen, tree pollen, flowers blooming. There's a lot of stuff in the air right now.

Regarding the eyes, the main symptoms of ocular allergies are itching, watering and redness. Itching is the biggie! If your eyes are itchy, most likely it is allergies, but other conditions can cause itchy, watery, red eyes: contact lens overwear, blepharoconjunctivitis, viral conjunctivitis, etc.

Oral allergy medications do work well to stifle the sniffles. It works good for anything inside the head: stuffy/runny nose, sneezing, congestion. However, the issue with allergy medications is that they tend to dry out the eyes, which can make your eye allergy symptoms worse. It's best to have something to use directly on the eye if your eyes are suffering from allergies.

The main tip is to NOT rub your eyes. This tends to release more histamine, which causes more itching and's a never-ending cycle. The best supportive therapy is cold compresses 5 minutes at a time on your closed eyelids as much as possible, but I usually recommend 2-4 times/day. Also, artificial teardrops will wash out any allergens from the eyes, which can cause the release of histamine and the itching, redness, watering symptoms. So use artificial tears as needed to help you out.

However, if that isn't enough, there are many over-the-counter allergy drops that work well. The main thing that you want is an anti-histamine and a mast cell stabilizer in an eyedrop. Alaway and Zaditor are two over-the-counter allergy eyedrops that work well, and both are to be used 2 times/day. If that still isn't doing it for you, you may require prescription treatment and a trip to your eye doctor is in order.

Also, remember...other problems can cause itchy, watering, red eyes. So if your symptoms are not getting better with the supportive therapy, make sure to see your eye doctor so that he/she can diagnose your issue and get you on the right track.

Take care,
Dr. Weaver

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