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Is it Allergies or Dry Eye?

Dry Eyes Don't Have to be Such a Pain

It is estimated that 50 million people in the United States have seasonal allergies and almost 5 million suffer from Dry Eye. Most are familiar with the watery, itchy eyes associated with allergies; however, these symptoms, even watery eyes, may be caused by Dry Eye - the inability to produce enough tears or tears of good quality. Dry Eye may not sound very menacing or medical to you if have't experienced it, but many suffer each day. In fact, the symptoms of Dry Eye drive more patients into our office and offices across America than any other reason! Read how to protect your eyes and how treating your underlying Dry Eye Syndrome may provide the relief you are longing for.

In This Issue

Dry Eye Risk Factors

Tips for Contact Lens Wearers

Eye Allergies: Prevention & Treatment

Dry Eye Risk Factors

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Sorry Ladies! Those over 50 are likely familiar with the discomfort and pain of dry eye. These are risk factors for Dry Eye:

  • Age (over 50)
  • Gender (female)
  • Genetics (caucasion)
  • Medications
  • Medical Conditions
  • Environmental Factors

A Special Note for Contact Lens Wearers

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Allergies may hamper comfort and wear-ability of your contact lenses, as allergens will accumulate on the surface on the lenses. Consider wearing glasses only during allergy season or wearing daily, disposable lenses.

Prevention & Treatment of Eye Allergies

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Prevention The best approach to reducing the symptoms of eye allergies is to limit exposure to the allergens causing them. Stay indoors when the pollen count is high, keep windows closed, and run the air conditioner to filter the air - don't forget to change filters! When outside wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from pollen and ragweed, drive with your windows closed, change your clothes when going back into the house, and wash your hands.

Treatment For some, symptoms will be relieved by the use of over-the-counter re-wetting drops to flush your eyes of the allergens. It may not seem that something so easy as lubricating the eye with re-wetting drops will relieve the great discomfort of allergies, but it really can be. The drier the eye, the more sensitive and reactive it may become to allergens. If your symptoms persist, call to schedule a visit with the doctor. Likely, an antihistamine, like new 24 hour drops, will be prescribed. Chronic, year long allergies are best managed by treating underlying dry eye issues. The next step for a more stubborn case is to manage it with steroids. As the condition improves, follow up may begin with an antihistamine, then move to re-wetting drops once better controlled. Early treatment is best for treating allergies so call us as you become uncomfortable. We can help in selecting the best re-wetting drops for your case; call us for more information

Prevention & Treatment of Dry Eye

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Prevention You may be predisposed to developing chronic dry eye but there are ways to keep you eyes healthy to ease stress. Hydration, sleep, a diet high in fatty acids (Omega 3), and exercise are helpful. Also, decrease dry eye caused by Digital Stress, lower contrast on your devices (phones, tablets) and blink often. Follow the 20/20/20 rule to give eyes a break: look 20 feet away, every 20 minutes for 20 seconds. If you have discomfort, try warm compresses, as this helps many of our patients.

Treatment For some, symptoms will persist. Chronic dry eye can create permanent damage and scarring on the cornea. There are many treatment options depending on the severity of the case and how the eyes respond to each treatment. Episodes of dry eye can be treated with wetting drops, warm compresses, fish oil and steroid drops as needed. Chronic cases require more complex solutions. Many patients respond very well to punctal plugs - devices inserted into the tear ducts to block drainage. It is achieved during an office visit and many patients find great relief. Our treatment options are vast, including the medically advanced use of biogenetic material. Most treatments are covered by your medical insurance, so don't delay relief and schedule your appointment now.

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