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See Your Way Through Allergy Season

The temperatures are rising, the sun is shining, and the trees are swaying in the breeze. What could be better?

Unfortunately, these weather changes come with some unpleasant side effects. This time of year the pollen count is extremely high causing many people to suffer from seasonal allergies. Some people are unaware that seasonal allergies cannot only affect the head and upper respiratory system, but the eyes as well.

Many people experience the usual seasonal allergic symptoms like sneezing, stuffiness, scratchy throat, and pressure in their heads. Symptoms specifically in the eyes related to allergies include itching, burning, a foreign body sensation, redness and even a white discharge. These symptoms are indicative of a diagnosis called allergic conjunctivitis. Although this is not contagious like a conjunctivitis caused by a virus, it is important to see an eye doctor if experiencing these symptoms because there are treatment options available to make patients more comfortable. These treatments include cold compresses and antihistamine allergy drops to alleviate itching, low dose steroid drops to help with irritation and inflammation, and artificial tears for comfort. It is also a possibility to get allergy tested as well to determine the exact cause of symptoms.

Making your doctor aware of these symptoms and getting properly treated can help prevent long term complications caused by excessive eye rubbing and long term use of medications that are not treating the underlying problem. Always remember to keep all follow up appointments to ensure proper care and management of any long term condition.

~ Dr. Stacey Flynt, Optometric Resident, Virginia Eye Consultants

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