ALLERGIC EYE PROBLEMS by Dr. Martha Jay, Eye Physician & Surgeon serving Milwaukee and surrounding areas
Spring is here and plants are beginning to return to life. We are all looking forward to spending time outside and enjoying outdoor activities. But for many, this season means the return of red, itchy, watery eyes that threaten our enjoyment. This is allergy season for many and patients with allergic conjunctivitis begin the yearly migration to our office to ease their symptoms.
Allergic conjunctivitis is inflammation of the thin tissue covering the eye and eyelids (conjuctiva) due to a reaction from allergy-causing substances such as pollen or dander. When your eyes are exposed to anything to which you are allergic, histamine is released and the blood vessels in the conjunctiva become swollen. Reddening of the eyes develops quickly and is accompanied by itching and watering eyes. Allergies tend to run in families, although no obvious mode of inheritance is recognized. The incidence of allergies is difficult to determine, because many different conditions are often lumped under the term “allergy.”
An obvious treatment is to avoid what you are allergic to. When this fails, then over-the-counter anti-histamine drops can be used to reduce the tearing and itchiness. Cold compresses also help to soothe the eyes. If these do not work then prescription medications (stronger anti-histamine or steroid drops) are needed to calm the inflammation and return your eyes to that normal comfortable feeling. Keep in mind that rubbing the eyes makes the situation worse. If you suffer from allergies or are just in need of an eye examination, call to schedule an appointment so you can embrace spring with comfortable eyes.