Are your itchy, watery eyes bothering you? Over fifty million Americans suffer from allergies, and more that 70-80% of them have some level of ocular symptoms.
Allergy symptoms include itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and sinus congestion. Besides eye itching, common eye complaints from allergies include redness, watering, and swelling or dark circles under the eyes.
What Are Ocular Allergies?
Ocular allergies are also referred to as “allergic conjunctivitis.” It is an inflammatory reaction to environmental allergens (such as pollen, dust mites, grass, trees or pet dander). This response results in inflammation of the conjunctival tissue (the normally white part of the eye) as well as the eyelids themselves.
Eye discomfort can have many sources that sometimes overlap. Dry eye, blepharitis (eyelid inflammation) and allergic conjunctivitis may occur at times present in a very similar fashion. It can sometimes be challenging for eye doctors to differentiate between these eye conditions.
Patients with ocular allergies report itchiness, swollen eyelids, and redness. Ocular allergies are particularly bothersome to those who have dry eye symptoms, contact lens intolerance, or nasolacrimal dysfunction, as this allergy can often worsen these conditions.
Keep reading to learn about ocular allergy tests, treatments, costs, and more. If you have questions not answered in this FAQ, don’t hesitate to contact our office for more information.
If you suffer from chronic ocular allergy, you should know about the available treatments. While not all treatments can remove an allergy completely, many can help you manage the symptoms. At Your Eye Specialists, we offer advanced ocular allergy testing in the form of a simple 10-minute test, with absolutely no needle skin test involved. This test seeks out 60 common allergens, and is covered by insurance.
To mitigate your allergy symptoms, you should of course work to avoid allergy triggers such as pollen. However, sometimes this just isn’t possible. We at Your Eye Specialists utilize the latest artificial tears, decongestants, antihistamines, and various other methods to offer relief. If your symptoms become overwhelming to the point where you cannot perform everyday activities, seek out treatment as soon as possible.
Natural Remedies for Ocular Allergies
While dry eye syndrome is chronic and usually progressive, dryness caused by allergies can come and go. You can typically deal with it by using prescriptions and natural treatments. These can include:
- Using soap on your eyelids. Put a mild cleanser or soap on your fingertips or washcloth, and massage your eyelids. This trick works wonders!
- Put a warm washcloth over your eyes. Simply dampen a washcloth with warm water, then hold the cloth on your eyelids for at least five minutes, or more. You can even softly massage your eyelids with the washcloth.
Clinical Treatments for Ocular Allergies
Sometimes, home remedies will not be enough to bring relief. In cases where you are suffering from extremely dry eyes due to ocular allergies, you can try the following options:
- Artificial Tears – There are numerous brands of artificial tears designed to improve your eyes’ lubrication. Speak with a specialist to find the right type for your eyes.
- Restasis – Instead of lubricated tears, your eye specialist may recommend Restasis. This prescription eye drop is used daily and helps reduce inflammation and improve lubrication.
- Warm Compresses – As an alternative to prescription medications, you can apply warm compresses to your dry eyes. They open clogged Meibomian glands, releasing meibum, an oily substance that keeps tears from evaporating.
- Decongestants – Decongestants aren’t just for your chest! When used for eye allergies, these reduce redness and itchiness.
- Antihistamines – Antihistamines work by relieving itchiness and stabilizing the eye to prevent allergy symptoms altogether. You may use prescribed antihistamines once or twice per day to relieve symptoms and clear your vision.
- Corticosteroids – Corticosteroids treat chronic and severe allergy symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling.
Contact Your Eye Specialists today to learn more about what treatment plan might be right for you.
You may have tried a number of eye drops or oral medications to get these symptoms under control, and while helpful, they often don’t do enough to keep your eyes comfortable. The problem with these treatments is that they only mask your symptoms without curing the root of the problem. Allergies occur when your immune system is exposed to something in the environment, known as an allergen. Your body then creates abnormal, overactive responses to these allergens.
To treat your allergy, it is important to identify the allergen that is triggering your symptoms and desensitize your immune system to this allergen. Traditional allergy testing uses shots to determine and treat allergies; however, our new treatment strategy is much less invasive. We offer a novel allergy test for identification of your specific eye allergies with a quick 15-minute test in the office, without having to draw any blood!
We are also pleased to offer a new, no-shot allergy treatment designed to treat and cure your allergies. This procedure is called SLIT, or sublingual immunotherapy, where a daily drop, customized to your specific allergens, is administered under the tongue and can eliminate your allergies over time. SLIT is extremely safe and convenient.
The introduction of Doctor’s Allergy Formula has revolutionized the diagnosis and treatment of ocular allergies. Currently, eye doctors only subjectively diagnose ocular allergies. Now, with our in-office diagnostic test, within 15 minutes your eye doctor can objectively identify what’s causing your ocular allergies and then customize a treatment plan.
Doctor’s Allergy Formula’s new allergy skin testing is covered by most insurance plans. By merely scratching the surface of the skin, this painless procedure can be done in a matter of minutes. Our diagnostic system tests for environmental allergens specific to your geographic region. Once completed, your doctor can determine whether or not a particular allergy-causing substance (allergen) is the source of your symptoms.
By correctly identifying your allergens and creating a personalized plan, you’ll be able to reduce or eliminate allergy signs and symptoms. A custom treatment protocol will be discussed with you to determine the most effective approach. Some solutions include allergen avoidance, medications, nutraceuticals and/or immunotherapy.
Many vision-impaired people decide to forego eye treatment because they think it’s too expensive. You don’t have to fall into this trap! It’s entirely possible to find affordable eye care. At Your Eye Specialists, we make sure that our patients can get the quality care they deserve, when they deserve it.
We give our ocular allergy treatment procedures industry-appropriate prices. At every step, we make it a priority to offer high-quality treatment options for patients who might otherwise be unable to acquire competent healthcare elsewhere. Before we perform any treatment, we’ll sit down with you one-on-one and discuss the total cost of the procedure and the available payment options. We want you to have all the information you need. Proper vision care is within your reach. In fact, most insurance providers cover diagnosis and treatment options!
Say YES to South Florida’s Premier Eye Center for Ocular Allergies
Allergies are extremely common, affecting more than 50 million Americans. If you suffer from allergy-related symptoms, we can help. The first step toward improving your health is the proper diagnosis.
If you’re suffering from allergies, don’t just mask your symptoms. We have ocular allergy testing and treatment options available. Contact us today to schedule your testing. Allergy testing is covered by Medicare and all major insurances.