During the spring and summer seasons, many of us suffer from red, itchy eyes, as well as excess tearing, dark circles under the eyes, sneezing, and a runny nose. For some, these conditions are minor irritations, while for others, the symptoms of spring and summer allergies can be so severe that they can impact an individual’s ability to go about normal activities without experiencing severe discomfort.

Severe allergies that affect the eyes can lead to allergic conjunctivitis, also known as an eye allergy or ocular allergy. When this happens, the allergen irritates the delicate covering of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. Pollen and mold spores are the most common causes of this condition, and are often accompanied by other signs of seasonal allergies such as hay fever and allergic rhinitis. Typically, symptoms worsen when going outside, particularly on days with high pollen counts.

Thankfully, as annoying as eye allergy symptoms can be, they are not life threatening or contagious. It is important to note, however, that other conditions, including those that may threaten eye health, can have similar symptoms. Have your Silverstein Eye Centers specialist evaluate your eyes for seasonal eye allergy symptoms to determine if your symptoms are related to allergies and are not signs of more serious conditions.

If your Silverstein Eye Centers specialist determines that you have eye allergies, you may be prescribed antihistamine eye drops or oral allergy medications. In addition to taking all medications as directed, you may find relief by:

  • Starting treatment as soon as possible.
  • Using cold, wet compresses on the eyes to reduce swelling and redness.
  • Using eye drops prescribed or approved by your eye doctor to combat itching and watering eyes.
  • Washing the eyelids and face daily.
  • Wearing sunglasses with large lenses or wrap-around lenses to block pollen from entering the eyes when outside, especially on windy days.
  • Cleaning contact lenses daily to remove any pollen or debris.
  • Washing your hair, clothing, and bedding frequently, and vacuuming regularly to rid your home of pollen that you may have tracked inside.

Consult with Silverstein Eye Centers if the above steps fail to provide relief for your eye allergy symptoms. For more serious or stubborn eye allergy symptoms, a short course of corticosteroid eye drops may help, however, these drops are associated with side effects and are not recommended for long-term use. While these drops may relieve your symptoms, they should only be used under the close supervision of your eye doctor, since these drops may pose an increased risk for glaucoma, cataracts, and infections.

To be evaluated for eye allergy symptoms, or to learn more about your treatment options, call Silverstein Eye Centers today at (816) 358-3600 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Posted May 13, 2014 by Silverstein Eye Centers
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