How to Treat Your Eye Allergy

Blurry vision and watery eyes are only some of the symptoms of an eye allergy. If you suffer from an eye allergy, know that you are not alone. Almost 20 percent of the U.S. population have eye allergies. There are treatments and preventative measures that you can take to reduce your exposure to allergens and treat the symptoms when they arise.

What is Your Allergen?

The Most Common Eye Allergy

environmental allergyEnvironmental allergies are the most common eye allergy. Individuals report a reduction in symptoms upon avoiding environmental allergens. Environmental allergens can include:

insect allergyWhile some people have symptoms present seasonally, others suffer from year-round symptoms with indoor allergens. Those with year-round symptoms are typically allergic to:

Eye allergy sufferers have unique issues. While there is an overlap in allergens, we find that it can be difficult for those sensitive to indoor allergens to prevent exposure when allergens are present in the workplace. Seasonal allergies, such as hay fever, offers those with eye allergies periods of respite. Those presenting with allergic conjunctivitis have particular difficulty if they also wear contact lenses. Allergic conjunctivitis is when the mucous membrane that lies over the eyes become irritated when exposed to an allergen. The result is red, watery, itchy, puffy eyes. General lenses can be an irritant.

What Can You Do to Treat an Eye Allergy?

eye allergy treatmentThose with mild allergy symptoms can generally try over-the-counter medications, eye drops, nasal corticosteroids and oral antihistamines. Prescription eye drops have few side effects and may help to prevent symptoms. Pataday and Lastacaft are commonly prescribed eye drops for ocular allergies.  A medication within the same family, Alaway, can be found over-the-counter in most pharmacies.  The preventative mast cell stabilizing component of these medications, in addition to the antihistamine component, typically makes them superior to other antihistamine-only medications. Individuals may also be prescribed cyclosporine A (Restasis) to reduce the inflammatory reaction and related symptoms. For those with more severe symptoms, a topical ophthalmic corticosteroid may be prescribed. Frequently older corticosteroids are tied to eye side effects. Newer is better in this case with fewer side effects.

Those that suffer from allergic conjunctivitis consider allergen immunotherapy or allergy shots as an option. This therapy may help to improve symptoms over the long-term. The treatment is now available in tablet form.

How Can You Reduce Exposure?

Try to limit exposure to environmental allergens such as pollen, grass and weeds. If you need to go out, glasses or sunglasses help to reduce some potential irritants. Use the air conditioner or fan (not a window fan) and keep windows closed.

In the home, you can:

Take steps to reduce exposure and find an optometrist to discuss your treatment options.

Call on Our Experienced Optometrists

At Southlands Vision Associates, Doctors Chad & Kristen Nicholson have served the eye care needs of patients in Aurora and the surrounding communities since 2006.  They specialize in primary eye care for adults and children, in addition to treating patient with ocular diseases such as ocular allergies.  Their practice is located within the LensCrafters in the Southlands Outdoor Mall.

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