Its that time of year again, flowers blooming, pollen count going up and your eyes are driving you crazy with the typical itching and watering. There are so many plants that bloom in Tennessee it is very difficult to isolate which is actually the culprit. Physiologically eyes, nose and throat are connected together, so when one is affected by an allergen typically the others adjacent tissues are also involved to some extent. Severe allergy conditions can also congest your sinuses which are all around your eyes and above your teeth. Sinus aches can get severe enough to the point of mimicking a bad tooth ache. The eyes are typically more severely affected because they have full exposure to the environment. Allergies affect the front part of the eye and the inner parts of the lids. As exposure to the allergen continues the eyes become more itchy and watery. Ones first reaction is to rub the eyes, and other tissues involved. Unfortunately, rubbing does not help the problem at hand it may actually lead to more severe conditions such as an eye infection secondary to poor hygiene Oral antihistamines are a good remedy for some of the involved areas, such as your nose and sinuses. These medications do help the eye allergies to some extent but due to the low vasculature of the front of the eye oral meds typically do not reach the eye as well as one would hope. In such cases topical drops are needed to supplement the oral meds. Allergy drops are typically either an anti-histamine or histamine blocker or stabilizer.
Unfortunately, rubbing your eyes does not help the problem at hand it may actually lead to more severe conditions such as an eye infection secondary to poor hygiene.
There are not many over the counter drops for allergies, the more effective drops need to be prescribed by your doctor. Typically all of these medications take between one to weeks to reverse the eye allergy, after which the patient typically needs to stay with the drops for the duration of the allergy season as a preventive measure. In severe cases allergy drops are accompanied by a stronger and very temporary use of steroid drops to reduce the inflammation and get a good handle of the eye condition. Steroid drops are usually discontinued after 2 weeks while the anti-allergy drops are used for the duration of the allergy season. If the new season brings you allergies don’t keep rubbing your eyes, see your eye doctor to get the best advice for your eyes. Remember you only have two eyes so take good care of them.
Dr.David Gavami, O.D.