Expert advice for preventing springtime eye allergies

WHAT: It’s March, and with forecasts for snow in parts of the U.S., people are looking forward to springtime weather more than ever. Trees and flowers will soon be in glorious full bloom, and the air will be filled with birdsong and the scent of fragrant blossoms.

Not to mention a lot of allergy-inducing pollen.

It’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans suffer from eye allergies, with symptoms that include itchy eyes, swollen eyelids, watery eyes, and red eyes. The most common culprit is pollen, microscopic particles released into the air by trees, grass and common weeds.

WHY: “When exposed to these allergens, cells in the eyes release histamines and other chemicals as a protective measure,” explains Sandy Feldman MD, Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center in San Diego. “This causes blood vessels to swell and makes the eyes itchy, red and watery.”

Eye allergies often affect the clear covering found on the front part of the eyeball, which is similar to the material lining the inside of the nose. Because the two areas are so similar, allergens can trigger an allergic response in both areas.

The best treatment for eye allergies is to minimize your exposure to allergens as much as possible. Dr. Feldman offers these suggestions:

  • Stay inside whenever pollen counts are high
  • Wear sunglasses to prevent pollens from reaching your eyes
  • Keep your home as dust-free as possible
  • Try to avoid irritants such as cigarette smoke and polluted air
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses if you’re experiencing allergy symptoms
  • Use artificial tears and antihistamines to help relieve symptoms short-term 
  • Wash your hands often to keep allergens out of your eyes

 

“Eye allergies can make you miserable, but they’re usually harmless,” says Dr. Feldman. “If allergies cause you severe irritation or pain, see your eye doctor for an eye exam.”

WHO: Dr. Sandy Feldman, one of the nation’s top ophthalmologists and LASIK experts.

CONTACT: I can arrange an interview with Dr. Feldman to discuss allergies or any other eye-related topic. Contact Diana Soltesz at [email protected] or 818-618-5634.

ADDITIONAL DETAILS: Sandy T. Feldman MD has performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures. Her many recognitions include “Best Laser Eye Center” in the 2016 San Diego’s Best Union-Tribune Readers’ Poll and “Top Doc San Diego.” She has been profiled in Forbes and Newsweek and is an expert resource for media outlets such as The Doctors, e-Heath Radio and various San Diego TV network affiliates. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the American and European College of Ophthalmic Surgeons and a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. For details, visit clearvieweyes.com.