Ah, Spring time in Houston….it can be a beautiful thing.
The sun is shining, the weather is nice (not too hot, not too cold) … perfect for enjoying the outdoors with my family.
Or is it?!
Unfortunately my favorite time of the year brings along some of the worst allergens and my big, beautiful Oak tree in my front yard is one of the biggest culprits!
I’ve suffered from them for as long as I’ve lived here. Getting them under control is on my life list and I’ve blogged about my experience with getting tested. For about a year and half I’ve been getting weekly shots in order to prevent suffering from symptoms related to allergies and I’m really happy to report that things are getting better. This spring has been less severe for me, but I still have some symptoms that cause me problems.
I talked with VSP Vision Care optometrist, Dr. Jing Han, who is based in Folsom, California, at Healthy Eyes Optometry to find out how seasonal allergies can impact eyes and what people can do to help them through the Spring allergy season.
Jenn: What symptoms do most patients experience from allergies regarding eyes
Dr. Han: Symptoms include itching, watery eyes, swelling and redness. They are generally not dangerous to the eyes but can be extremely uncomfortable if left untreated. There are some bacterial infections that can be mistaken as an allergic reaction that are very dangerous, like pre-septal cellulitis and orbital cellulitis, which need immediate attention. This is why it is important to have your eyes checked by an optometrist in order to rule out any symptoms that could be a sign of a more serious condition.
Jenn: Is there anything that people should be mindful of when thinking about over-the-counter allergy remedies/treatments in relation to eye health?
Dr. Han: Although there are many over-the-counter irritation “relief” eye drops to choose from, not all are meant to serve as an allergy remedy. I love it when my patients just call or e-mail me to ask what over-the-counter remedies is best for them specially. My response typically is one or two different brands that you can get over-the-counter, but I also take that opportunity to let them know that there are prescription allergy eye drops that are usually more effective. Ask your optometrist before you start using any eye medications.
Jenn: What can we do to protect our eyes during allergy season this spring?
Dr. Han: Be mindful of what you may be allergic to and try to avoid those things, always wash your hands to remove allergens before handling contacts or touching near your eyes and wear sunglasses! Sunglasses provide a barrier from allergens while also blocking harmful UV light.
Personally, I don’t ever go outside without sunglasses on. My eyes have always been a bit sensitive to sunlight. Dr. Han said that light-colored eyes allow more light rays to reach the retina, because there is less pigment in the iris to absorb them. As a result people (like me) experience more brightness from the same amount of sunlight. Interesting!
Do you need a stylish way to protect your eyes during allergy season? A lucky Still Living The Dream reader can follow Dr. Han’s advice AND look great doing it with a free pair of designer sunglasses valued at $110.00! Just leave a comment about how you deal with seasonal allergies. A winner will be selected at random May 2, 2013, at 11:59 CST.
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