If you feel like allergy season seems to last all year, you’re not wrong. It actually does, depending on the allergen. Allergies affect about 50 million Americans, a number that’s been increasing. Maybe tissues have been sufficing as bandaids for your runny nose, and maybe self-prescribed eye rubbing has helped to temporarily alleviate red, irritated eyes. But we’re here to tell you: there are better solutions out there.
Whether your eye allergies are being caused by pollen, dander, dust, a stuffy office, or something else, the result is the same: itchy eyes. What’s worse is that ocular allergies (allergies affecting the eyes) often work together with dry eye disease to create even more symptoms for patients. So how can you tell if you even have ocular allergies? Well, if itchiness is your number one complaint, that’s likely the case.
Along with the annoying symptoms, visual acuity (clarity of vision) can also be affected by allergies. The eye has a lot of moving pieces to create sharp vision, almost like the elements of a mathematical equation. One of these pieces is the tear film on the surface of the eye - as it dries out or wells up with tears, the way we see will change instantly. Do you ever notice a big change after rubbing your eyes, blinking consecutively or blotting the eyes with a tissue. That’s because you’re affecting the equilibrium of the tear film. To avoid discomfort, the goal is to stabilize this equation to maintain clarity.
What’s the remedy for ocular allergies?
We recommend going to your eye doctor for an examination and prescription eye drops. Your doctor may recommend various lid hygiene techniques and over-the-counter allergy drops before prescribing the more effective (and expensive) allergy medications.