For most of the country, spring is allergy season. Blooming flowers and green plants are beautiful – but they also wreak havoc on allergy sufferers. Sneezing, runny nose, and itchy, watery eyes can truly make spring a miserable time of year for those of us with seasonal allergies.
At our office, we see patients suffering from ocular allergies almost every day. Most of these patients come in during the spring or fall, but we do have patients who suffer from allergies year round. They usually complain of red, itchy, watery eyes and sometimes have stringy mucous discharge. Allergies affect people to varying degrees, but some of these folks are really uncomfortable.
We’re lucky to have several very good treatment options for ocular allergy. Eye drops, cold compresses, and oral allergy medicine can all be used to alleviate the symptoms and shorten the duration of allergy. In regards to eye drops, several over the counter and prescription options exist. Over the counter drops can be effective, but they should be used with caution because they are not all equal. Prescription drops usually work faster, but they should only be used with a prescription. Cold compresses can help relieve allergy symptoms also, especially when used along with the eye drops as above. Finally, over the counter oral medicines can be very effective, and they have the added benefit of helping to alleviate the systemic symptoms of allergy (runny nose, sneezing, itchy throat) as well. Before taking any over the counter medication, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for you.
Allergy season can be tough, but we can help. If you’re suffering from red, itchy, watery eyes - especially during peak allergy season - come in and let us customize a treatment plan for you. If you have systemic allergy symptoms, see your primary care physician, who can recommend treatment. Before long we’ll be through spring allergy season, which will mean fall allergies are just around the corner!
Until next time –
Clint Taylor, OD