The weather outside is beginning to warm up, the flowers are starting to bloom, and most of us are spending more time outdoors. For some, this shift from the dry cold to warm green landscapes is one of the best times of the year. For those with allergies, this transition into spring indicates the start of many months of sneezing, running noses, and itchy eyes.
Most people know taking anti-histamines will help with nasal allergies, but did you know they can also affect your eyes? A common issue of using an antihistamine pill such as Zaditor or Claritin is the side-effect of eye dryness.
It is important to note that dry eyes and allergies have similar symptoms that both include itching, redness, and watering. Often, a person will start using an allergy medication during allergy season and believe it’s not working because their eyes still itch, when in fact the medication is working great and their eyes are simply experiencing the dryness side-effect.
This is one reason it is important to discuss your symptoms with your optometrist and let them know of any medications, including over-the-counter medications that you are taking.
If your eyes are truly suffering from allergies related to pets, pollen, dust, or mold, there are several prescription eye drops that may be used to locally target and treat the eyes. These medications are safe for continual use and many people find great relief by adding them to their daily routine.
The best way to differentiate between allergy and dryness is to have a comprehensive eye exam and discuss your symptoms with your eye doctor.
Contributed by Dr. Brett Arnold