With the change of seasons soon approaching, allergies will be on the uprise. Allergies affect many individuals and can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life. Allergies are triggered by an allergen which activates the body to produce a substance called histamine to fight off the offending allergen. Allergies can affect the eyes and cause an allergic conjunctivitis, which is not considered contagious compared to other types of conjunctivitis.
There are several different triggers for an allergy response. Triggers include but are not limited to pet dander, mold, dust and pollen. Symptoms of an allergic conjunctivitis include redness, swelling, itching, watering and light sensitivity. Allergic conjunctivitis is typically diagnosed by an eye doctor as they will look at specific areas of the eye to see if there is an allergy response occurring.
Treatment for allergic conjunctivitis can vary. The first step is to usually avoid or limit exposure to the offending allergen. For example, if you have an allergy to pollen, pollen counts are usually the highest during the morning hours and it is therefore best to avoid going outside and keeping windows shut during these times. Windy days should also be avoided as the wind can increase the spread of pollen. If you cannot avoid going outside, sunglasses can be worn to decrease exposure to pollen.
It is especially helpful to avoid rubbing or touching the eyes as this can add more irritation. Cool compresses can provide a soothing symptom relief. Artificial tears can also be used as brief symptom relief as it will wash out any allergens that are on the surface of the eye. There are several different anti-allergy eye drops that are available as prescription and over the counter (OTC). These allergy drops provide more than just symptoms relief as they can help to relieve the signs and symptoms of an allergy. In severe cases a steroid should be used in order to treat chronic and severe allergies.
If you suffer from seasonal allergies and you would like to discuss with your eye care professional about what the best treatment plan is for you, call 860-233-2020 to schedule an appointment today.