Allergies

Eye allergies can be caused by seasonal pollen or dust and dander. There’s a variety of treatment plans available for ocular allergy sufferers.
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For seasonal allergy sufferers, itchy and tear-laden eyes are a hassle. Fortunately, an adequate treatment plan and a few clinical recommendations from a doctor of optometry can make all the difference in the world.

What are eye allergies?

Most of the time, eye allergies are caused by the same irritants as seasonal allergies. From red, itchy and watery eyes to sneezing, congestion, seasonal allergies typically appear at specific times of year.

Allergy Relief & Doctors of Optometry

When visiting a doctor of optometry for allergy relief, they will work to help you by determining:

  1. What’s the root cause? To better manage allergies, it's helpful to understand what is causing them. Common allergies include:

    • Pollen allergies: Most people cannot avoid pollen but can minimize the impact. From showering before bed to wash away allergens to frequently changing air filters in the A/C system when allergen levels are elevated.
    • Perennial allergies, including dust and animal dander: There are a variety of ways to minimize exposure within living spaces. Some people minimize carpet, use allergy-reducing bed covers, and HEPA-filtered vacuums or A/C systems.

To determine the allergens, you may be referred to further testing to help tailor your treatments. 

  1. What’s the best treatment plan? Allergies not isolated to the eyes will require a more comprehensive approach. Relief and inflammation reduction can be found in some over the counter (OTC) nasal and oral preparations.

However, some patients may require multiple delivery methods to reduce their symptoms and improve their day-to-day function. Prescription alternatives may be needed.

Artificial tears can also dilute allergens and wash away mucous, thus reducing discomfort. Cool compresses are very effective against itching, and some homeopathic preparations may also provide relief.

  1. Is it allergicconjunctivitis? In some cases, eye allergies can also play a role in conjunctivitis (or pink eye) and other eye infections. People with persistent allergic conjunctivitis may require topical steroid eye drops or oral antihistamines. Cool compresses and artificial tears sometimes relieve discomfort in mild cases.

Other Tips from Optometrists

When dealing with eye allergies, it might be uncomfortable to wear contact lenses. Consider wearing glasses instead of contacts to avoid accumulating airborne allergens. You can also talk to your doctor of optometry about daily disposable lenses that are discarded after a single use, which decreases the buildup of allergens and other debris on the lens surface.

Visit a Doctor of Optometry Near You

Periodic eye and vision examinations are an important part of preventive health care. Many eye and vision problems have no obvious signs or symptoms, so you might not know a problem exists. Early diagnosis and treatment of eye and vision problems can help prevent vision loss.

Each patient's signs and symptoms, along with your doctor of optometry's professional judgment, will determine what tests are conducted and the best treatment plan.

Schedule a safe, in-person, comprehensive eye exam by a trusted medical expert as a vital part of your primary care. To find an AOA doctor of optometry near you, visit the Doctor Locator.

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