Q: What are some of the most common complaints you get about eyes during allergy season?
A: By far, the top complaint is itchy eyes. I also hear about watering, sandy/ gritty feeling, redness and ropy/stringy discharge, but always itchy eyes.
If you wear contacts, make sure that you use them only for the prescribed amount of time. If you have single-use disposable contacts, adhere to the daily replacement schedule.
Q: What ways can you help address these issues?
A: I usually prescribe an allergy drop. In many cases, patients only need to use them once or twice a day during allergy season. If you know you’re going to be in a specific environment such as a household with a pet, you can hopefully avoid the reaction completely by starting treatment before being subjected to the allergen. I also encourage patients to use preservative-free artificial
tears when they are not using their allergy drop in order to rinse out allergens that are causing redness and irritation.
Q: What would your advice be for someone who has allergies trying to find the perfect contact lens?
A: I advise my patients that a poorly fitting contact (particularly a tight lens) can cause redness and damage to their eyes, so it’s very important that their doctor check the lens fit with it on their eye before giving a prescription for them. I encourage patients who have allergies to wear daily disposable contact lenses. This means that they are starting with a fresh, clean lens every day, not reinserting an allergen-coated lens back into their eye for two weeks or even a month. I also tell my patients that they should NEVER wear their contact lenses if their eyes are red! Causes could be allergies, not enough sleep, drinking too much or even an eye infection.
Q: What other ways should people seek relief for allergy-related eye issues and other associated symptoms?
A: A number of oral allergy medications not only help with sinus symptoms from allergies, but will also help with eye issues. Several nasal sprays also include some ocular relief when they’re being used regularly and correctly. Remember, theyre nasal sprays, so don’t spray them in your eye for relief.
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