COMBATING ALLERGY SEASON
Hopefully the last snow is behind us for 2016. As spring unfolds the plants began to bloom, birds begin to chirp and the grass begins to grow. For those with allergies this may be a challenging time as their nose begins to run and their eyes become itchy red and watery and they just feel miserable.
Having allergies can also lead to problems with eye infections such as conjunctivitis, or pink eye. There are two different types of conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis caused by allergens is not contagious and is easily treatable. Non-allergic conjunctivitis, which is caused by viruses or bacteria entering the eye, can spread from person to person with ease and requires antibiotic treatment.
Conjunctivitis, often referred to as pink eye, is the inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelid and eyeball which helps to keep the eye moist. It is important to have a proper diagnosis by your optometrist as the treatments will be different based on the type of conjunctivitis you have. The non-allergic conjunctivitis is highly contagious. Symptoms usually are worse beginning about three to five days after the eye infection begins.
Are you experiencing some of these symptoms?
- Redness in the white of the eye or inner eyelid
- Itchy eyes
- Swelling of the eyelid
- Blurred vision
- Increased amount of tears
Allergy-associated pink eye may disappear completely when the allergy is treated or when the allergen is removed. You might consider using eye drops containing antihistamines to ease symptoms of the allergic reaction. Eye drops for allergies are available over-the-counter or by prescription from your eye doctor.
In some cases if the infection is severe, your doctor may prescribe you steroids. The best course of action when in doubt is to consult your eye doctor for the proper diagnosis and treatment.
About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Bissell Eye Care and Tri-State Low Vision Services, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.