Know the symptoms of seasonal eye allergies and how to get rid of this pesky problem
As the weather warms, flower buds are opening, and your neighbors are dragging their lawnmowers out for an annual spring tune-up. And suddenly you find a need to rub your itchy, red, and sore eyes constantly. Yep, it’s that time of year again – the time that seasonal allergies blossom with the trees.
Nasal symptoms of seasonal allergies, like a runny nose and sneezing, usually get all the attention, but actually, eye allergies (your eye doctor may call it “allergic conjunctivitis”) are pretty common – affecting millions of people in the US. Grass allergy and pollen in the eyes are the primary cause of eye irritation. What’s the best treatment? And how can you get rid of your eye allergies?
Eye exam to diagnose eye allergies in Ottawa, Ontario eye doctor’s tips on how to recognize and relieve allergies.
The ocular symptoms of your seasonal allergies are caused when your body’s immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to an environmental trigger that’s really harmless. That trigger, called an allergen, makes contact with antibodies in your eyes – and these cells respond by releasing histamine. Histamine and other natural chemicals cause tiny blood vessels in your eyes to leak, which can lead to redness, itchiness, burning, inflammation, and watery eyes. The symptoms can range from mild to severe enough to interfere with your clear vision. Rest assured – eye allergies are not dangerous, as annoying as they can be.
However, these symptoms alone are not enough to blame for seasonal allergies. All of these signs are not unique to eye allergies and could point to several different eye diseases. That’s why a precise diagnosis is imperative! Our Ottawa, Ontario eye doctor will perform a comprehensive evaluation of your eyes to identify the cause of the irritation.
Bastien & Prizant Eye Clinic and seasonal allergies in Ottawa, Ontario
Many eye diseases can be quickly and easily diagnosed during a comprehensive eye exam. If you were diagnosed with an eye disease, such as Cataracts, Glaucoma, Macular degeneration, Diabetic retinopathy, or Dry eye, you may be overwhelmed by the diagnosis and confused about what happens next. Will you need medications or surgery – now or in the future? Our Ottawa eye doctor has prepared the following answers to your questions about eye disease.
Avoid your trigger to get rid of eye allergies
Grass allergy and pollen in your eyes are the most typical triggers for seasonal eye allergies, often called hay fever. Since that’s the case, you’re probably wondering how you can possibly avoid these widespread allergens. Before you lock yourself in your room and wait for the seasons to change, our eye doctor recommends:
- Keep windows closed when the pollen count is high. Use a/c in your home, office, and car in order to clean the air around you.
- Do not rub your eyes! This spreads the pollen (and irritation!) all over.
- When you are outdoors, always wear glasses and sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes. Don’t wear your contacts! Contact lenses can exacerbate eye allergies because they are a great surface for pollen to cling to and pile up.
- When you return indoors after being exposed to seasonal allergens, rinse your eyes with saline drops.
- Clean your floors with a damp rag, instead of sweeping with a dry broom that pushes any pollen that’s settled back into the air.
What’s the best treatment for eye allergies?
Some of the symptoms can be managed with nonprescription drugs, especially if your eye allergies are mild. Try using artificial tears to keep your ocular surface clean. Decongestant eye drops may also help, however, it’s not a good idea to use these for more than a few days since they can worsen your condition with prolonged use.
What about antihistamines for red eyes and seasonal allergies? Antihistamine eye drops, mast cell stabilizer eye drops, corticosteroid eye drops, and NSAID eye drops are accepted short-term treatments for eye allergies. Because these are all prescription drugs, you will need to visit your eye doctor (and possibly an allergist too) to determine which medication is most suitable for you. Some non-sedating oral histamines may also be effective at relieving your symptoms, but they can dry out your eyes – thereby making the irritation worse. If your seasonal allergies are extreme and get in the way of functional living, immunotherapy allergy shots or tablets may offer long-term relief.
Are seasonal allergies disrupting your life?
Visit Bastien & Prizant for more tips on how to enjoy clear and comfortable vision in Ottawa, Ontario, all year-round! Call Bastien & Prizant on 613-800-5950 to schedule an eye exam with our Ottawa optometrist. Alternatively book an appointment online here CLICK FOR AN APPOINTMENT