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SPRING ALLERGIES AND PINK EYE

Pink-EyeWith the warm weather finally arriving, we’re beginning to see signs of spring. Have your eyes started to water? Are your eyes red? Do you feel your nose starting to get stuffed up again? It’s that time of the year, the time when the weather gets warmer, you want to get outside, and all the plants and trees start to bloom. As spring approaches, learn how to help prevent symptoms and avoid eye infections.

Among eye infections associated with allergies, pink eye is one the most common. Pink eye is an inflammation of the thin, clear covering of the white of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. While this part of the eye is clear it contains small blood vessels. When an infection occurs, these blood vessels dilate, giving the eye the red color. It is more frequently experienced with people who are in close proximity to others such as students, school workers, daycare workers and medical professionals.

Types of Pink Eye

  • Allergic: This form of pink eye may be associated with pollen but can also be flared up by dust or pet dander
  • Bacterial: Bacterial pink eye is caused by bacteria entering the eye. It can cause serious damage to the eye if left untreated.
  • Viral: Caused by a virus similar to the common cold. This is the most contagious form but will usually clear up on its own in a few days without medical treatment.

Treatments

  • Allergic: Allergy medications can often help to prevent or shorten the duration of the infection. It is a common practice to start the medication prior to allergy season or known flare ups.
  • Bacterial: An optometrist appointment is necessary and they will prescribe eye drops.
  • Viral: This form will run its course over several days requiring no medical treatment. Using a cold wet compress will help relieve some of the symptoms. Do not share this compress as the viral form is the most contagious.

As we approach spring and allergy season, follow these tips to help prevent eye infections.

Prevention

  • Avoid sharing items such as washcloths, tissues, or towels.
  • Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes after covering your mouth to cough or sneeze.
  • Never share contact lenses with anyone.
  • If you experience seasonal allergies consult your doctor on how to minimize symptoms.
  • Remove contacts before using a hot tub, being in water, and even showering.
  • Wash hands frequently, especially in areas of high public traffic (schools, daycares, public places).

If you do experience an infection don’t hesitate to contact the doctors at Bissell Eye Care to confirm if you will need medication to help combat the infection and prevent future eye damage.

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.