Your yellow dust covered car is just one sign that allergy season is upon us. Many patients suffer from allergies, some relatively mild, some more severe. There are many upsides to a warm Kansas City winter, however mild winter temperatures result in problems for allergy sufferers in the spring. Exposure to allergens cause inflammation throughout the body, but what type of symptoms present in the eyes?
Allergens cause histamine to be released into your blood stream, including the vessels in your eyes. When this occurs, your eyes can become red, itchy, swollen, and also tear. One common allergen is pollen. Pollen levels increase when days are warm, hot and dry (think about the past few weeks). Relief can be provided by precipitation as rain pulls the pollen out of the air and puts it on the ground.
An easy way to check your local allergy report are websites like www.weather.com. They offer allergy trackers with interactive tools to find out what is in the air (tree, grass, weed, mold) and at what levels.
The best way to treat eye allergies:
Artifical tears: wash allergens off the ocular surface and help control inflammation
Over-the-counter allergy drops: Zaditor and Alaway are both dosed two times a day and provide multi-faceted coverage
Prescription allergy drops: see your doctor if the over-the-counter medications aren’t doing the trick
Cold compresses: frozen bag of peas or corn works great (who likes to eat peas anyway!)
Oral antihistamines: there are many over the counter allergy medications available. Some may cause drowsiness so make sure to dose at night or test them out prior to a big day. Also, oral antihistamines will dry out your eyes causing more inflammation. You must use lubricating / artificial tears when taking oral antihistamines.
Steroid drops: your doctor may prescribe you a mild steroid medication for more serious cases
If allergies seem to be a constant battle for you. It may be time to schedule an appointment with your local allergist. They can help you pinpoint triggers and times of the year that may cause problems.