Spring is Around the Corner, which means Beautiful Weather….and Allergies!
Many people eagerly anticipate the end of winter and beginning of spring. Spring means the end of cold temperatures, inclement weather, and short days. However, there are also many people who have come to dread spring because beautiful weather means debilitating allergies. According to CNN, it is estimated that between one fourth and one third of the U.S. population has allergic eye disease, and a good percentage of that is seasonal. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) is the most common eye allergy, and grass and ragweed pollens are the most prominent seasonal triggers. If you suffer from itchy, watery, swollen or burning eyes in the spring, you might be one of many Americans who suffers from seasonal allergies.
Tip from our Optometrist!
Determine the Cause of Your Eye Problems with a Comprehensive Eye Exam
The first step is scheduling a comprehensive eye exam with your trusted eye care provider to diagnose the cause of your eye problems. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), SAC occurs more commonly among people who already have seasonal allergies. SAC is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, which is the thin transparent layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of the eyelid and covers the white part of the eye. In order to assess if you suffer from SAC, Dr. Kinard at Athens Eye Care will test the conjunctiva and surrounding tissues using bright lights and magnification. If you do have SAC, Dr. Kinard can provide treatment to alleviate your symptoms.
How to Treat Your Symptoms
There are a number of ways to treat a patient with SAC in order to reduce the inflammation of the eye and increase comfort. First, there are certain actions that you can take. Try to avoid allergens as much as possible. For example, since pollen is the most common seasonal trigger, avoid spending extended periods of time outdoors on days with a high pollen count or high winds. If you do have to spend time outside, wearing sunglasses is a way to help shield your eyes from allergens. Allergens like pollen also tend to stick to fabrics, which means allergens can deposit on your clothes and be transported indoors. So, washing your clothes, bedding, or other fabrics as often as possible during the spring can help reduce allergens in the home. You should also use the air conditioner in your home and car instead of opening your windows during allergy season. Flushing your eyes with lubricating drops is another way to alleviate SAC symptoms. If you continue to experience persistent eye discomfort, medication may need to be prescribed as part of your treatment. The most common medications prescribed for more severe cases of SAC are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, antihistamines, or topical steroid drops, according to the AOA.
This Spring Take Action to Diagnose and Treat Your Eyes!
In the next few months, temperatures will warm up, flowers and trees will bloom, and spring allergies will hit in full force. If you notice that you have eye discomfort, schedule an eye exam at Athens Eye Care. We will assess your eye problems and create a treatment plan for you.