It’s that time of year. The flowers are blooming and the weather is getting warmer. The only problem is that with spring comes seasonal allergies. For many of our patients, spring results in eye allergies, which can cause dry, red, itchy eyes.
At Dr. Andrew E. Holzman’s Washington, DC practice, we provide tips to help patients reduce the symptoms of eye allergies. An ophthalmologist with decades of experience, Dr. Holzman can improve the overall health of your eyes and improve your vision.
Read on to learn more about eye allergies, how to reduce symptoms, and the treatments that we offer to make dealing with allergies easier.
Causes of Eye Allergies
Allergens cause the cells within the eyes to produce histamines, which then result in eye allergy symptoms. These allergens include:
- Dusty conditions
- Pet dander
- Smoke from cigarettes or fires
Pollen is the primary cause of springtime allergies. Pollen can be released from grass, trees, flowers, and weeds, all of which are blooming in April.
Eye allergies can make it difficult for patients to resist the urge to itch or rub at the eyes. They also cause the eyes to become red or watery. Itching the eyes can exacerbate these symptoms, cause swelling of the skin around the eyes, and increase eye dryness.
To reduce itchiness, patients can use allergy eye drops or anti-histamines. Applying an ice compress to the eyes can also sooth itchiness.
Redness can be addressed with eye drops and by avoiding the intense urge to rub the eyes.
Watery eyes can also be treated with allergy eye drops.
Eye dryness can be made worse with the use of anti-histamines and rubbing of the eyes. Patients can take an omega three fish oil supplement, use eye lubricants such as Refresh Optive Advanced, and get a prescription for Restasis to improve lubrication of the eyes.
Not touching the eyes, applying an ice compress, or using under eye patches that moisturize and reduce puffiness can reduce swelling of the skin around eyes.
To reduce the overall symptoms of eye allergies, you may also try staying indoors to avoid allergy triggers, and washing the face to bring relief to your swollen and itchy eyes.
Contact Lenses and Eye Allergies
It can be impossible to wear contact lenses when you are suffering from seasonal allergies. Many patients find it too difficult to resist the urge to rub the eyes, which can result in contact lenses becoming dislodged or causing pain. Most patients have to wear eyeglasses to see clearly when dealing with eye allergies.
If you dislike wearing glasses or are sick of the hassle of contact lenses, laser vision correction or other procedures may be right for you. Treatments such as LASIK and PRK can permanently address the visual problems that cause nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism, so you no longer have to wear glasses or contact lenses.
Eye Surgery and Eye Allergies
However, when patients undergo eye surgery, they must avoid touching or rubbing the eyes for several weeks after surgery. This is because an incision is made in the eye, and touching the area around the incision can increase the risk of infection. For this reason, it can be a concern if patients have eye allergies and are undergoing surgery.
To address this concern, we recommend that patients undergo eye surgery during the months in which they do not suffer from eye allergies. For example, if you have allergies in the spring and fall, it would be ideal to undergo surgery mid-summer or mid-winter.
To learn more, contact Dr. Holzman’s practice today.