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Column: See spring without itchy eyes

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Commentary by Dr. Hannah Wilson

Spring has sprung here in central Indiana. With the rise in temperatures comes a rise in allergies, which can profoundly affect the eyes. Ocular allergies produce a range of uncomfortable symptoms, including itchy, watery, red and swollen eyes. Even if you have not been formally diagnosed with systemic allergies, these symptoms can be isolated to the eyes alone.

To best manage ocular allergies, it is helpful to determine what is causing them. The two most common forms of ocular allergies are seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergies are caused by airborne pollens, which peak in spring and summer. Perennial allergies, caused by dust and dander, occur throughout the year. Both types of ocular allergies produce similar symptoms but identifying the root cause can ensure effective treatment.

If you are plagued with ocular allergies, do not dismay. With a quick visit to your optometrist, you can experience relief. If the allergen can be identified, avoiding it is a top priority to prevent recurrence. Some allergens, like pollen, cannot be totally avoided, but showering prior to bed and routinely changing the air filters in your A/C system can minimize their impact. Refrigerated artificial tears help dilute the allergen and rinse away mucous, which eases discomfort. Cool compresses also are effective against itching and swelling.

In addition to these measures, your optometrist can recommend an appropriate topical ophthalmic treatment, or eye drop, to combat your ocular allergies. There are many great over-the-counter anti-allergy eye drops as well as prescription-strength options. Upon examination, your optometrist will identify what type of treatment best suits your needs. You don’t have to see spring’s beauty through itchy, watery eyes.

Dr. Hannah Wilson is an optometrist at RevolutionEYES and Little Eyes Pediatric Eye Care in Carmel. She is happy to answer any questions regarding family vision needs and can be reached at DrWilson@Revolution-EYES.com.


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