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What Are Eye Allergies?

Eye Doctor & Optical Store Near You

Eye Doctor in South Charleston, West Virginia

Eye allergies, also called “allergic conjunctivitis,” are the eyes’ response to environmental irritants and allergens. Their symptoms range in severity from uncomfortable to debilitating but fortunately are often treatable. If you suspect you have eye allergies, speak with Dr. Rebecca St. Jean about finding lasting relief.

Understanding Eye Allergies

What Causes Eye Allergies?

Allergies occur when the immune system becomes hypersensitized to certain allergens — otherwise harmless substances, such as pollen or dust mites. When allergens are introduced to the body, histamines are released in the blood-stream, causing inflammation and swelling.

Some airborne allergens that can cause eye allergies include:

  • Mold
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen

Non-airborne allergens include:

  • Makeup
  • Perfume
  • Skincare products
  • Cleaning chemicals
  • Contact lens solutions
  • Preservatives in multi-use eye drops

Symptoms of Eye Allergies

When the blood vessels in the eyes are affected during an allergic reaction, the following symptoms can arise:

  • Red eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy or irritated eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Burning or painful eyes

How Are Eye Allergies Treated?

There are several approaches to treating eye allergies and Dr. Rebecca St. Jean can help determine which options best suit your symptoms.

Limit Allergen Exposure

One of the best ways to reduce allergy flare-ups is to avoid allergens altogether or at least reduce exposure to them. If pollen causes your eyes to become red and itchy, try driving with the windows closed and limit your time outdoors. Additionally, wearing wrap-around glasses can shield your eyes from irritants and possibly allergens.

Take Antihistamines or Decongestants

Histamine is what gets released in the bloodstream and causes the allergic response. Antihistamines work by blocking the attachment of histamine to the body’s cells that produce the allergic reaction, thus reducing or eliminating symptoms.

Decongestants can help you breathe easier by shrinking swollen nasal pathways that may have become inflamed due to allergies. Decongestants can also shrink the blood vessels in the whites of the eyes (sclera), relieving red eyes.

Try Eye Drops

Over-the-counter lubricating and antihistamine eye drops can help soothe red, itchy, and irritated eyes. Dr. Rebecca St. Jean can recommend the brand and type that will offer the best relief, or prescribe more potent eye drops than the ones available at your local drugstore.

Aside from soothing irritated eyes, lubricating eye drops and artificial tears can help flush the eye of allergens and remove any foreign substances.

Temporarily Remove Your Contact Lenses

Allergens can accumulate on the surface of contact lenses, which makes it difficult to get rid of symptoms while wearing lenses.  If you suffer from eye allergies, try temporarily switching to glasses and see if your symptoms persist. Typically, the best contact lenses for those with eye allergies are daily disposables, which are discarded daily.

Visit Your Eye Doctor

An eye exam with Dr. Rebecca St. Jean is the best way to rule out other possible eye conditions and determine the root cause of your symptoms. If you suffer from any of the symptoms mentioned above and suspect you have eye allergies, don’t hesitate to call Advanced EyeCare Center today to schedule your eye exam.

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At Advanced Eyecare, the health and safety of our patients and team members continue to be our top priority as we respond to the evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak.

The CDC has advised voluntary reduction of patient load to essential services only. We are diligently sanitizing our premises and taking precautions to do our part in mitigating the spread of the virus. We have revised our testing protocol to reduce contact as much as possible.

We ask that if you are not in need of essential medical services, you delay your visit until after March 30, 2020. We will be closing our office to routine care on March 20, 2020 and will be seeing urgent issues only. We are currently available during business hours by phone and email to schedule you if you have an urgent issue. You can also request an appointment at www.advanced-eyecare.com.

If you have visited Coronavirus hot spot areas or have traveled in the last two weeks, have symptoms of fever, sore throat, congestion, cough, shortness of breath or generalized fatigue, please contact us to reschedule right away and observe the recommended 14 day quarantine.

For those of you coming in, please text or call us when you arrive in the parking lot. We will advise you of the best time to enter the office. This will make it safer for you and for others.

We are still receiving orders into the office, so delivery times are still on schedule as of now. We are also extending contact lens prescriptions and glasses prescriptions for 30 days for patients affected by the disruption of our schedule.

Should the office need to close unexpectedly, you will receive notification as soon as possible. Follow our Facebook page for up-to-date information at https://www.facebook.com/aecwv/

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation. For more information, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.

Advanced Eyecare Call 304-766-2220 Email: advanced-eyecare@suddenlinkmail.com Online Scheduling: advanced-eyecare.com