“Eye Care” For You Allergy Season Is Here

Dr. Parker-Herriott
Dr. Parker-Herriott

Already, many of us love this season, but dread going outdoors. Allergy season is here!

Tree pollen is at an all time high in Savannah. This is evident by the yellow dust we see on our cars.

If you are allergic to tree pollen, you may not be feeling your best these days, but hang in there…, relief is coming. Soon, the tree pollen will diminish as other allergens (such as grasses and weeds) will take its place.

Many people suffer from allergies all year, while others have symptoms only at certain times of the year. Prescription medications and allergy shots are often required to relieve many symptoms of allergies, but when it comes to ocular allergy symptoms, eye drops are sometimes required to reduce the symptoms.

Common signs of ocular allergies include: red, swollen, tearing or itchy eyes. These symptoms can often trigger an allergic conjunctivitis (or “pink eye”). The best treatment for ocular allergies related to pollen is to avoid the allergen. This means staying indoors and wearing protective eyewear when going out doors. In addition, antihistamines, decongestants, mast cell stabilizers, and sometimes steroid eye drops are also required to relieve these annoying symptoms. Several drops are sold over-thecounter, but if symptoms do not relieve after 3 days of use you should see your eye care provider. Although this form of “pink eye” is not contagious, you should always take extra precautions and wash your hands regularly.

Antihistamines relieve symptoms caused by airborne allergens, such as itchy, watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing. Decongestants clear up redness by constricting the blood vessels in the eyes. Decongestants do not treat the cause of allergies; they only help reduce the symptoms. Beware…, many drops on the market are mainly decongestants. They may cause the eyes to look whiter, but they do not get rid of the allergen causing the redness. The symptoms are likely to return after using this type of eye drop and sometimes the red eye symptom can get worse.

Mast cell stabilizers alleviate redness and swelling. This type of drop is known for long-lasting relief of symptoms whereas antihistamines are known for immediate relief of allergy symptoms.

Steroids are used to relieve severe inflammation of the eyes or when other treatment forms have been ineffective.

For contact lens wearer, daily disposable contacts are recommended when allergy symptoms do not allow you to be comfortable in your contacts.

The best part of the season is welcoming the spring flowers and saying good bye to the cold winter. The worst part of the season is suffering from the allergens it brings. If you are already suffering, I encourage you to see your eye care provider. If you are in need of eye care provider, I invite you to visit

EnVision Eye Care.

321 W. Montgomery

Crossroads, Savannah

(near Hunter Golf Course and VA Medical Clinic). For appointments, call (912)

927.0707 and visit us at: www.envisionsavannah.com

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