1) Please describe the more common symptoms, as well as some of the less common and less known symptoms of Eye Allergies.
Symptoms typically include itching, watery eyes, tearing, goopy discharge and burning. Dry eyes can be a side effect of oral allergy medications.
2) Is there anything unique about allergies that affect the eyes, or is this the same as general allergies?
The chemical process of an allergic reaction in the body and in the eyes is very similar. The effects may seem more localized to the eyes or in conjunction with other parts of the body.
3) What causes Eye Allergies?
Anything that the body’s immune system determines to be foreign and triggers an overreaction of the immune system. A lot of these factors come from the environment that a person is in.
4) Is it true that there are certain times of the year that are worse, or is the whole year a problem?
This is true depending on what is causing the allergic reaction. If it is due to pollen or mold, the seasons for that can vary depending on the location.
5) What type of treatment options are available for patients that come in to see their optometrist with eye allergy symptoms?
Treatment is usually aimed at reducing symptoms. The options available are cold compresses, artificial tears to wash away allergens, and eye drops that come in prescription and non-prescription. Oral allergy medications also can help with treatment of allergies in the eyes. Often times one of the side effects of oral medications is dry eyes.
6) Are there treatments for eye allergies that offer permanent relief, or only temporary?
Treatments are mainly temporary. The most permanent solution would be to eliminate the allergen that is causing the reaction.
7) Is it possible to wear contact lenses without causing additional discomfort?
It is possible to wear contacts without causing additional comfort. This usually includes management with prescription eye drops and switching to a daily contact lens that is thrown away daily to help eliminate the buildup of allergens in the eyes.
8) Can you provide general recommendations that may help people suffering from Eye Allergies?
First try and determine what is causing your eye allergies. If oral medications are not enough, come in for a visit and we will discuss what treatment options we have to manage the eye allergies. Even eye allergy sufferers can be successful contact lens wearers.