Emergency eye care: You don’t need to suffer with red, gritty eyes this summer due to allergies. We can help

For many of us with the sunshine comes the pollen, and with the pollen comes the allergies. Red, itchy, irritable, burning, tearing, swollen eyes along with a gritty sensation can be a sign of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.  These symptoms may be accompanied by a runny or itchy nose, sneezing, coughing or a sinus headache.  Many of also find that their vision is temporarily blurred, or that they feel distracted, unproductive or tired.

This summer you do not need to suffer.  Our allergic eye clinic offers a variety of treatment options to help manage your allergies this year.

Why do I have allergies?

When someone with allergies comes into contact with one of his or her allergens (such as pollen), it provokes an overreaction of the immune system. The body may release histamines or other agents to fight the allergen, resulting in symptoms that can include sneezing, runny or itchy nose, coughing and wheezing, and itchy, red, watery eyes.

 

How can I treat my itchy eyes?

Depending on the severity of your allergies we have a variety of treatment options to keep your eyes comfortable this summer.  An eye examination will allow us to advise or prescribe the best treatment options for you.

 

Cold compresses

Applying a cold compress to the closed eye lids will not only soothe your eyes but will help reduce the inflammation and redness.  There are products available to purchase such as a TheraPearl Eye-ssential Mask or The Ice Doctor eye mask.

 

Artificial Tears

Artificial tear drops can help relieve eye allergies temporarily by washing allergens from the eye. They also relieve dry, irritated eyes by adding moisture. These drops, available without a prescription, can be used as often as you need them.  Preservative free drops are advised.

Decongestants

Decongestants reduce redness in the eyes from allergies. They are available as over-the-counter eye drops. They may be sold simply as a decongestant or as a decongestant with an antihistamine, which relieves eye itchiness. These types of eye drops should not be used for more than two to three days, as longer-term use actually increases your irritating symptoms.

 

Oral antihistamines

Oral antihistamines may be somewhat helpful in relieving itchy eyes; however, they can make eyes dry and even worsen eye allergy symptoms.  They will help with a runny or itchy nose, sneezing and coughing etc.

 

Antihistamine/mast-cell stabilizers

Eyedrops with both an antihistamine to relieve itchiness and a mast-cell stabilizer help prevent eye allergies. Depending on the particular eye drop of choice, they are used once or twice a day to relieve itching, redness, tearing and burning.  Some anti-histamines are available over-the-counter.  Combined Antihistamine/mast-cell stabilizers require a prescription.

 

Corticosteroids

Steroid eye drops can help treat chronic and severe eye allergy symptoms such as itching, redness and swelling. These are used in more severe cases

 

How can I prevent my allergies?

The best defence is to avoid your allergens whenever you can.

Wearing close fitting, wraparound UV protective sunglasses will help block not only the harmful UV light but also allergens in the air that may cause irritation.

To keep your eyes feeling comfortable, consider wearing a daily disposable contact lens that you replace every day rather than reusable monthly contact lenses.  With a fresh pair of contacts every day, you dodge dust, pollen and other irritants that can build up when you wear contacts over and over.

Top 10 Tips for preventing eye allergies:

  1. Have an eye examination before the hay fever season begins and discuss the best treatment plan with your optometrist
  2. Consider an oral anti-histamine, or antihistamine/mast-cell stabiliser eye drop. Combined drops such as Opatanol work best.
  3. Use a cold compress to reduce inflammation
  4. Use an artificial tear or decongestant to reduce your symptoms
  5. Wear daily disposable contact lenses rather than reusable lenses
  6. Wear close fitting wraparound sunglasses
  7. Try not to touch or rub your eyes (it releases more histamine and makes things worse)
  8. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
  9. Avoid grassy areas when the pollen count is high
  10. Wash your bed linens and pillowcases in hot water and detergent to remove allergens

To book an appointment for an eye examination call our reception team on 0141 943 3300 or CLICK HERE use our online appointment diary.

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