Eye allergies affect millions of Americans every year.
Allergens typically attack the conjunctiva, a clear layer of tissue overlying the white part of the eye.
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
Typical symptoms include…
- Tearing (watery discharge)
- Mattering or mucus buildup in the corners of the eyes
- Blurry vision
- Eyelid swelling
- Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) and atopic eczema (dermatitis) are some medically associated conditions that may contribute to symptoms.
- Other medications or topical cosmetics are also a common culprit.
Call to schedule an appointment today if you think you may be experiencing any of these symptoms.
There are four main types of eye allergies: seasonal, perennial, vernal, and atopic. Ocular therapy for each condition depends on the severity.
- Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis typically lasts for a short period of time. Antihistamines, decongestants and mast-cell stabilizers should alleviate the symptoms associated with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.
- Perennial allergic conjunctivitis may last all year long. It tends to be more chronic so antihistamines, decongestants and mast-cell stabilizers may not be enough. Occasionally topical steroid drops may be needed.
- Vernal keratoconjunctivitis is potentially more damaging to ocular tissue due to long-term inflammation. It can be treated with antihistamines and mast-cell stabilizers but may need prescription steroids or cyclosporine drops to help prevent long-term tissue damage due to chronic inflammation.
- Atopic keratoconjunctivitis is also potentially more damaging to ocular tissue due to long-term inflammation. It can be treated with antihistamines and mast-cell stabilizers but may need prescription steroids or cyclosporine drops to help prevent long-term tissue damage due to chronic inflammation.
There can be adverse side effects associated with long term use of certain prescription eye drops such as increased intraocular pressure, cataracts, or glaucoma. It is very important to follow your doctor’s directions for use and keep all scheduled follow-up appointments.
Over-the-counter topical artificial tears help to dilute allergens and help prevent more allergens from sticking to the conjunctival tissue. Other types of OTC drops include antihistamines, decongestants, and mast-cell stabilizers, although some of these may require a prescription. Antihistamines and decongestants offer quick relief for mild symptoms. This only lasts a few hours but the side effects are minimal. They can become less effective after long-term use. Patients who have narrow-angle glaucoma should avoid these medications.
Mast-cell stabilizers prevent the release of the chemical mediators of inflammation. They have a slower onset, so many of these are coupled with an antihistamine. Other prescription drops include cyclosporines, steroids, non-steroidal drops. These are only prescribed for severe symptoms and should be supervised by your doctor.