Allergies occur when your body becomes overly sensitive to something in the environment that typically causes no problems for most people. An allergic reaction may occur when that “something” that you are allergic to comes into contact with your eyes. In many cases, the “something” you are allergic to is airborne, such as pollen.
There are many different medications that have proven to be effective in fighting allergies, whether its spring, summer or fall allergies. If you cannot find a medication that helps you in combating the symptoms, it may be time to consult your eye doctor, as some eye diseases carry similar symptoms as allergies and will not improve with allergy treatment.
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or SAC, is one of the most common types of eye allergy. Depending on the type of pollen that is in the air, people who suffer from SAC experience symptoms in spring, summer or fall.
Some of the most common symptoms are:
- Clear watery discharge
People who have SAC may also notice dark circles under the eyes. These symptoms are often accompanied with a runny nose, sneezing, or nasal congestion.
As we stated earlier, there are several different types of medication that you can use to combat the symptoms of SAC.
There are also methods to combat your allergies that do not require medication.
- Stay indoors at times when pollen counts are high.
- Keep windows closed and use air-conditioning as much as possible.
- Avoid using fans in windows as this tends to pull pollen into the house.
- Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to reduce the chances of getting pollen in your eyes.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes when they feel itchy or watery.
Be sure to consult your eye doctor if you are using over the counter medications such as eye drops. Prolonged use of some eye drops may actually cause your condition to worsen and cause damage to your eyes. The proper treatment and avoiding pollen when it is at its highest will help to reduce your symptoms this allergy season.
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.