Does the change of seasons cause your eyes to be itchy, watery, or swollen? Allergic conjunctivitis is the term used to describe allergies specifically affecting your eyes. At Frontier Eye Care, we can help you find relief from your allergic conjunctivitis.
So what causes allergic conjunctivitis? When an allergic reaction takes place, your eyes may be overreacting to a substance perceived as harmful, even though it may not be. These substances are called allergens. Common allergens in Casper and Central Wyoming include pollens from our native plant species, cottonwood, and dust. Adverse reactions to pet dander, certain cosmetics, and drugs can also cause eye allergies.
These allergens may be harmless to most people, but can cause excessive production of tears and itching in eyes of overly sensitive, allergic individuals. With allergies, your body’s release of histamine from “mast cells” causes your eyes to water and itch, just as it may cause your nose to run.
The most common “treatment” is to avoid what’s causing your eye allergy in the first place. Keep your home free of pet dander and dust and keep pets off the furniture. Stay inside with the air conditioner on when a lot of pollen or the cottony seeds from cottonwood trees are in the air. Use high quality HEPA furnace filters that trap common allergens and replace your filters frequently.
Make sure you wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from allergens, and drive with your windows closed during allergy season.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your eye allergies, or you’re not having any luck avoiding them, your next step probably will be medication to alleviate the symptoms.
Topical (eye drop) antihistamines are usually very effective, and are usually much better than some over-the-counter products, such as Visine, which can have side effects. Some antihistamines also act as mast cell stabilizers, which prevent histamines from being released in the first place. The antihistamines provide immediate relief, while the mast cell stabilizers are known for their long-lasting relief.
For more severe cases, we may prescribe anti-inflammatory eye drops to decrease swelling, inflammation, and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.
If you’re bothered by allergic conjunctivitis, schedule an appointment with Dr. Alden. She’ll be glad to discuss your options, and find a treatment that is most effective for you.
Call Frontier Eye Care to schedule your next appointment at (307) 472-2020.
Another Cause of Watery Eyes
Of course, allergies can cause excessively watery eyes. But another common condition can lead to tearing as well – Dysfuntional Tear Syndrome or “dry eye syndrome.”
It may seem illogical that dry eye syndrome could cause watery eyes. But sometimes an underlying dry eye condition stimulates your tear glands to overproduce the watery component of your eye’s tears as a protective response, leading to watery eyes.
By examining your eyes, we can determine what’s causing the watering, and find relief!
At Frontier Eye Care, we’re experts in allergic conjunctivitis as well as dry eye management. We can determine what’s causing your watery eyes and take care of your problem either way. Talk to us today at (307) 472-2020 if watery itchy eyes are bothering you.