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  • Spring Allergies and Your Eyes

    Spring time can be a time of discomfort for allergy sufferers. These seasonal allergies brought on by dust and pollen in the air can be a true nuisance. Just as the weather improves and people want to open their windows to let the fresh air in people suffering with allergies find it necessary to keep the windows closed relying on their air conditioners to filter the incoming air.  Luckily the symptoms are fairly short lived, at least until the fall when symptoms may resume. Some people are unfortunate in that they may suffer from allergies all year round. Many of these people can be helped by going to an allergist who may be able to determine the cause of their allergies which are often caused by animal dander and dust mites. Others may have a more difficult time as they may suffer from chronic atopic allergies such as eczema.

    While allergies can be associated with nasal symptoms and generalized malaise, the ophthalmologists at Eye Center South with offices in Dothan, Andalusia, Panama City, Destin and Albany see many people with severe ocular complaints. Many of the sufferers are contact lens patients. Ocular complaints may consist of severe itching and burning often associated with a mucus discharge.  In these cases the lids may be swollen and the conjunctiva which lines the inside of the lids and the white part of your eyes may be involved. Those wearing contact lenses must stop using them while they are symptomatic. Proteins secreted while patients are allergic stick to the lenses blurring vision and causing the lenses to dislocate from their normal position on their eye. All this causes significant visual impairment as well as increased discomfort.

    While stopping lens wear is a first step there are many good medications now available that can afford considerable relief. Because dryness results from inflammatory changes associated with allergies artificial tears can bring significant relief by washing out allergens and offering comforting lubrication. There are now many excellent steroid drops that can give quick relief and when used for a short time are perfectly safe. Finally there are many new antihistamine-mast cell stabilizer drops now available that give 24 hour relief.

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