Summer is our favourite time of year. The warm weather really makes Vancouver look and feel beautiful. However, for some, the boon to local fauna has a nasty side effect: seasonal allergies.
Even if you don’t have seasonal allergies, chances are that you know someone who always carries an ample supply of tissues during the summer months. Not only is sneezing and plugging a runny nose frustrating, but our eyes sometimes like to join the allergy party!
You can minimize the impact of your seasonal allergies by:
- Keeping windows and doors closed – Especially in periods where pollen/dander counts are high. In this case, air conditioning becomes your new best friend.
- Wearing glasses/sunglasses when outdoors – They help keep wind and allergens out of your eyes.
Eye Allergy Symptoms & Treatments
Every person is different. You may not respond to all the treatments discussed here. If your seasonal eye allergy symptoms are really causing you problems, we welcome you to schedule an appointment to speak to one of our Optometrists- we will help you alleviate your symptoms and enjoy your summer in comfort.
Itchy, Scratchy, or Burning Eyes
We all know the uncomfortable stinging or burning sensation that comes with irritated eyes. This sensation may abate somewhat with your eyes closed, though it usually persists regardless.
- Lubricating eye drops – If the sensation is caused by dry eye, you may find lubricating eye drops provide relief (albeit temporarily). You can find these in any pharmacy or in our office.
- Antihistamines – Antihistamines, taken either orally or as eye drops, prevent your eye and eyelids from release the histamines that cause inflammation. You can get these over the counter, though you’ll need a prescription for the high-strength versions. Be mindful of potential side effects, which include dry eye.
Watery Eyes/Excessive Tearing
Eyes that water can make it difficult to see. If this is chronic you may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks like reading or driving.
- Using a warm compress several times per day – This can help unclog any blocked tear ducts or drainage canals.
- Antihistamines – Either oral or as eye drops. Same as described above.
- Surgery – If your watery eyes are significantly impacting your life, we may recommend surgery to clear/create drainage ducts.
- Prescription eye drops or corticosteroids – If your case is quite severe, corticosteroids may be used to reduce inflammation and tearing. However, this is a short-term solution as corticosteroids have been linked to an increase in eye pressure (which can influence the development of glaucoma4) as well as cataract development5.
Red or Pink Eyes
Also known as allergic conjunctivitis1, pink eye is a common seasonal allergy symptom.
- Antihistamines – Either orally or via eye drops.
- Mast cell stabilizers – Taken as eye drops, mast cell stabilizers prevent the mast cells in your eyes/eyelids from releasing histamines and other allergic-mediators.