While Spring is a beautiful time of year, for allergy sufferers it can bring misery. At North Shore Eye Care we see a large upsurge of patients complaining of red, itchy eyes during this time of year. When just the eyes are involved there are many different types of drops that can be used that give considerable relief. Allergy drops can be found on pharmacy shelves that don’t require prescriptions. Unfortunately they don’t give long lasting relief and need to be instilled often. Due to the inconvenience of frequent instillation and increased exposure of your eyes to preservatives these drops may be less than ideal. Now their are many new prescription antihistamines on the market that have improved safety profiles while still being very effective. Many of these topical medications need be applied only once a day. When more than just the eyes are involved with allergy sufferers oral antihistamines are commonly prescribed. This can be a problem for people with dry eyes as oral antihistamines can lead to further drying of the eyes. Dry eye sufferers do best with the oral antihistamine Singulair, since this is the one oral antihistamine that is not associated with dry eyes. New topical steroid drops give quick relief and there is little reason to worry about the known side effects of steroids such as glaucoma and cataracts. Nevertheless if long time allergy relief is required antihistamine-mast cell stabilizer drops are favored. Newer formulations of these drops are so effective that they are required only once a day. Over the counter decongestant drops that are touted to get the red out should be avoided since these like some nasal sprays can cause dependency.
Those people with known allergies may do best by avoiding contact with the allergen that’s causing their discomfort. For instance if you are looking for a dog be sure you are not allergic to animal dander commonly seen with dogs that shed. Those that wake up in the morning with signs of allergy may be allergic to the down found in comforters and pillows. Ultimately, it may be necessary to go to an allergist who can do skin antigen testing on you, the most reliable way to diagnose your problem. People with known seasonal allergies do best with closed windows, relying on fresh, filtered air from their air conditioners. If you do go out it’s best to take your allergy medication before leaving the house so as to give the medication time to work before symptoms develop. Many people know about the website weather.com but another useful website for allergy sufferers is www.pollen.com. Simply plug in the zip code where you will be and you’ll get information on pollen counts that day as well as several day afterward.