Ocular Allergies

By Dr. Ryan Robison

Allergies can be annoying, tricky, and can affect everyone differently. Symptoms may include sneezing, runny nose, stuffiness, or a sore throat. Symptoms for ocular allergies can include swelling, redness, watery, burning, itching and light sensitivity. You can have multiple symptoms or you may only have one. In addition to causing some level of discomfort, it can also interfere with your daily activities.

It is not unusual for me to see a patient that has come in for a red eye examination. Oftentimes, the reason for the red eye is very straightforward and sometimes it is a little tricky because a red eye could be due to dryness, allergies, or an infection. All of these reasons can appear similar, but all require a completely different treatment. Over the counter allergy eye drops are often adequate treatment. However, a prescription may be needed and could include other recommendations including decongestants, antihistamines, mast stabilizers, or corticosteroids.

Here are some statistics on ocular allergies: they affect up to 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children, they are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., they are the most common health issues affecting children in the U.S. Researchers think nasal allergies affect about 50 million Americans. While anyone can be born with or develop allergies, people whose parents suffer from allergies are more likely to have allergies.

Some allergens are harmless, like pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. Some eyes are sensitive to perfumes, smoke, cosmetics, insect bites, foods, and preservatives.

The best way to prevent allergies is to avoid allergens but that is not always realistic. You can control air quality by closing windows, changing air filters, using air purifiers, and cleaning ceiling fans. Other suggestions include washing your hands after handling animals, washing your bedding in hot water, and using a non-feathered pillow.

If you suffer from ocular allergies or think you might, then please call us at 435-673-5577 or go to www.SouthWestVision.com.