Monday, June 29, 2009

Eye Allergy Season

Eye Allergy Season

It’s the time of year when patients come in complaining of red, swollen, watery or itchy eyes.

What Causes Spring/Summer Eye Allergies?

Pollen-related allergens are in the air, where they come in contact with your eyes and nose.

Eye Allergy Treatment

Avoidance. The most common "treatment" is to avoid what's causing your eye allergy. Stay inside with the air conditioner on when a lot of pollen is in the air. Air conditioners filter out allergens, though you must clean the filters from time to time.
Make sure you wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from allergens, and drive with the windows closed.

Medications. If you're not sure what's causing your eye allergies, or you're not having any luck avoiding them, your next step probably will be medication to alleviate the symptoms.
Many patients reach for over-the-counter medication as they are often less expensive. However, OTC products generally contain decongestants which take the red out, but have the unfortunate side effect of making your blood vessels dependent on the drug to stay thin. Going off the medication causes a rebound effect and the eyes get redder than ever, causing you to become dependent on continual use of the drops.

Our office recommends prescription medications such as Patanol or Zaditor. These medications act by preventing mast cells from bursting open upon exposure to an allergen and releasing histamine and other allergy components that cause all the symptoms of redness, itching & watery eyes. Mast cell stabilizers are known for providing long-term relief of allergies. They can even be started before allergy season, so you will have no symptoms at all! These medications also contain antihistamines that neutralize histamine right away, to provide instant, short-term relief of allergy symptoms.
In severe cases, we prescribe Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) eye drops or prescription corticosteroid eye drops.

If you suffer from red, itchy, watery eyes, please call the Bedford Eye Care Centre for an appointment at 902-835-2020.

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