Ocular itching can be very uncomfortable, red and look unsightly. Others may think you have an eye infection and be concerned that you are contagious. They may be worried about being around you. Your eyes may be watery and your vision may be blurry as well. Eye allergies can be very uncomfortable.
The most common cause of both itching of the eyes and redness is ocular allergies. Ocular allergies can be either seasonal, year round or associated with particular things you are allergic to such as an animal.
How Do I Treat Allergies In My Eyes?
It is important to have an eye examination to determine if your symptoms are from ocular allergies. If at all possible, avoiding the allergen will help tremendously. Most of the time this is not practical as many people are allergic to things wer are exposed to in our environment.
It is very helpful to treat before you are exposed to the allergen. For example, if you have spring allergies it is advised to initiate allergy drops 2 weeks or so prior to the expected allergy season.
It is typically treated with allergy drops. Most of the appropriate drops are given by a prescription, although there are a few good over the counter products as well. Some of the prescription drops are once daily medications and the rest are dosed twice a day. Cool compresses can be helpful. Artificial tears can wash out allergies and also offer some relief.
If your symptoms are not improved with these remedies, Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I can prescribe a short course of topical steroid eye drops. This can offer quick relief. It is important for you to be watched if you are taking steroid eye drops.
Are your eyelids or eyes red, sore, irritated, have a foreign body sensation or do you suffer from itchy or crusty eyelids? You may have blepharitis. It is a common condition that causes inflammation of either the inside or the outside of the eyelids.
Blepharitis is usually not an infection. Is it usually not contagious to other people. You may notice your symptoms to be either constant or intermittent. It often tends to be chronic or recur frequently and can be very bothersome.
Types of Disease
There are several causes for blepharitis. The two main types: anterior blepharitis and posterior blepharitis (also called meibomian gland disease MGD). It is important to distinguish between these two types to offer the proper treatments to our patients.
Blepharitis and Dry eyes
Many patients have dry eyes at the same time. It is important for Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I to perform a careful slit lamp examination to determine the proper cause of your symptoms. This will allow us to offer treatments that will offer the most improvement in your symptoms. We can also perform a tear osmolarity test that helps determine how dry your eyes are.
The amount of treatment recommended often depends on the type of disease and the severity of the disease. If you have anterior blepharitis, we often recommend keeping the eyelids clean with baby shampoo scrubs or eyelid cleaning pads or solutions. Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I may also prescribe a short course of antibiotic eye ointment for your eyelids at bedtime.
If your disease is more posterior (meibomian gland disease), warm compresses can be very helpful. Lubrication drops can be helpful. Sometimes anti inflammatory drops can be helpful also. It is also important to treat concomitant dry eye disease to achieve relief of your symptoms.
Allergy season is quickly approaching! Do you suffer from spring allergies? Are your eyes usually itching and red? Are they feeling uncomfortable? What is the cause of these symptoms and can anything be done? Itching and redness can be very frustrating and uncomfortable. You may be suffering from eye allergies. Sometimes it is nearly impossible to avoid being exposed to the things we are allergic to.
You may have tried over the counter remedies to see if they can improve your symptoms. If the over the counter treatments are not providing proper relief, it is important to have a comprehensive eye examination to determine the cause of your symptoms. Your condition may or may not be ocular allergies. You want to consider when your symptoms occur most. Are they worse in the morning or evening? Are they worse during a particular season of the year?
Dr. Stanley Grandon,Dr. Cindy Wang and I will take a complete history and perform an eye examination. It is important to distinguish if your eyeballs feel itchy or your eyelids are bothering you more.
Itchy eyes are often a symptoms of ocular allergies. You may also complain of watery eyes, stringy mucous discharge, eyelid swelling, and irritation. Ocular allergies are when the eyes are exposed to allergens. Different patients can react to different allergens. Your symptoms are often due to release of histamine and mast cells and symptoms will often vary during different seasons depending on what the allergen is that is causing your symptoms.
If your symptoms are more affecting your eyelids, you may be suffering from blepharitis instead of eye allergies. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid margin and the eyelids can become itchy, red and irritated.
If you wear contact lenses sometimes your condition can be related to your contact lenses. You may have developed a sensitivity to your contact lenses or be wearing them too much.
It is important for your doctor to make the proper diagnosis so we can offer the treatments that will improve your symptoms.
Treatment of Eye Allergies
If you suffer from eye allergies, it is important to try to avoid the allergen if possible. Ocular allergies are often initially treated with eye drops that are antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers. These medications work more effectively if they are used regularly during your allergy season. If your symptoms are severe, we may add a short course of a mild steroid eye drop also. Sometimes chilled artificial tears can also help your symptoms.
If your eyes are itchy and red it can be quite uncomfortable and cause difficulty with your vision. You may have trouble wearing your contact lenses also. You may also have other symptoms such as burning, watery eyes and swollen eyelids. Your symptoms may be from eye allergies, also called allergic conjunctivitis. Many eye problems such as infections can have similar symptoms so it is important me to perform an examination to assess for other conditions.
If you have allergic conjunctivitis you may have other symptoms such as sneezing, sniffling, nasal congestion and a runny nose. Your eye symptoms will often be in both eyes if they are due to eye allergies. Fortunately, allergic conjunctivitis usually causes no threat to your eyesight. It may cause temporary blurriness, though.
It is important to try to avoid the triggers that cause your symptoms. Your allergies may be seasonal or perennial. If your allergies are seasonal, you may be allergic to pollen, grass or trees. Perennial allergies can be due to dust, mold and pet dander.
Home Remedies for Allergies
If you have seasonal allergies, it is important to try to not be outdoors during peak allergen times. It can be helpful to wear eyeglasses or sunglasses and to keep your windows closed when you drive. If you are allergic to dust mites, washing your sheets frequently can be helpful. Not rubbing your eyes can be helpful also.
Cool compresses and chilled artificial tears can be soothing if your eyes are bothersome. Over the counter allergy drops such as ketotifen can be very helpful also. There are oral over the counter allergy pills that can help. It is important to choose an oral medication that will not be sedating if during the daytime hours.
How Can We Help You?
Red eyes can be caused by many conditions. Allergies are just one possibility. Dr. Stanley Grandon, Dr. Cindy Wang and I can perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine the exact cause of your symptoms. There are many prescription eye drops available for eye allergies. Allergy drops are more effective if taken regularly during your allergy season. For more severe symptoms, if due to allergies sometimes a short course of steroid eye drops can relieve your symptoms faster.