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Winter Issue

CareCheckup

LASIK & Vision

Get relief from eye allergies

Allergies can strike any time of year, causing sneezing, coughing and congestion. But for many allergy sufferers, itchy, watery, swollen eyes can be an additional nuisance. Common causes of eye allergies may include seasonal triggers like pollen, grasses and molds. Sometimes, you can even feel the seasons change before you see them!

But it's not just seasonal changes that can trigger itchy, watery eyes. Nonseasonal culprits can include pet dander, dust, dirt, cigarette smoke, perfumes and certain medications. These triggers can cause reactions similar to plant allergies.

Eye allergies are the result of our body's immune system reacting to allergens by releasing histamines. This causes our eyes and skin to become red and itchy. By making a few tweaks to your activities and your environment, like the ones suggested below, you can help reduce your exposure to allergens - and the severity of eye allergy symptoms.

Limit exposure to allergy triggers. Try to stay indoors with windows closed to reduce your exposure to outdoor triggers.

Consider placing an air purifier in your home. Filters in the purifier can help rid the air inside your home of allergens and pollutants, which can help improve the quality of the air you breathe.

Use a dehumidifier in your home to help keep mold away, especially if you live in a humid climate. Kitchens and bathrooms are prime spots for mold growth, which can trigger eye allergies.

Replace contacts with glasses. Allergens in the air can stick to contact lenses making them uncomfortable to wear when eye allergies flare. If you do wear contact lenses, keep them moist with artificial tears, keep them clean and resist the urge to rub your eyes.

Try over-the-counter eye drops. Look for lubricating eye drops or allergy eye drops. Also consider oral antihistamines or other over-the-counter treatments for mild allergies that are formulated to relieve itchy, red, watery eyes.

Ask your doctor about prescription medications. These may include antihistamines, decongestants or steroids that can help manage symptoms.

Shower before bedtime to remove allergens from your skin and hair. It's also a good idea to change clothes after you've been outside and wash your hands after touching animals, plants and trees. In addition, wash your bed linens frequently.

Wear eyeglasses or sunglasses when outdoors to help keep allergens from getting near your eyes.

Visit your eye care provider before allergy season starts to discuss treatment options, especially if you suffer from seasonal allergies.

If your eye allergy symptoms persist or worsen, schedule an appointment with your eye care provider for a thorough exam. In some cases, eye allergies can lead to infections or other eye conditions that may require additional treatment. Keep in mind that you can use your CareCredit credit card to pay for vision products and services. Use our handy Acceptance Locator to find a nearby provider that accepts CareCredit.

CareCredit provides information solely for your convenience. Please always consult with a physician on any medical decisions.

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