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Allergy Management and Your Eyes

Image of woman blowing her nose.

For those who suffer from allergies, exposure to pets, pollen, or dust mites can quickly lead to red, itchy, watery eyes. Although seasonal allergies are notorious for causing eye symptoms, year-round exposure to allergens can be just as problematic. If you develop itchy, red, irritated, puffy, or watery eyes, make an appointment to see your optometrist for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

What Causes Eye Allergies?

All allergies are caused by an overreaction of the immune system to non-threatening substances. This could be pollen, pet dander, mold spores, feathers, dust mites, perfumes, smoke, or air pollutants. When the mucous membrane covering your eyes comes into contact with one of these allergens, your immune system releases histamine and triggers a response. This causes eyes to become watery, pink or red, itchy, and puffy. You may also experience nasal allergy symptoms.

The First Step: Controlling Allergen Exposure

If you know what triggers your eye allergies, the most important preventative step to take is to limit your exposure. This may mean limiting your time spent outdoors, avoiding homes with pets, switching bed linens to remove feathers or dust mites, or having your home checked for mold. For individuals with seasonal allergies, mid-morning and early evening typically bring the highest pollen counts, so it is smart to stay indoors during those times. Also try to avoid windy days, which can blow pollens and trigger eye allergy symptoms.

Other Tips to Manage Eye Allergy Relief

Many people who suffer from allergies reach for over-the-counter antihistamine medications to manage their symptoms. Although antihistamines often reduce nasal symptoms, the American Optometric Association warns that they can actually increase irritation associated with red, itchy eyes. Antihistamines decrease tear quality and quantity, preventing your body from providing natural eye relief. Instead, ask your eye doctor about prescription medications or eye drops that may be right for you.

Another important step for managing eye allergies is to avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, which can exacerbate symptoms. Cleanse your hands frequently with soap and water, and wash your bed linens and pillow cases in hot water to destroy common allergens.

For contact lens wearers, allergies can be particularly challenging. Wearing contacts may become particularly uncomfortable when you have itchy, irritated eyes. Whenever possible, forego contacts and wear prescription glasses instead. If that is not an option, make sure you replace your contact lenses frequently, and talk to your optometrist about eye drops or single-use lenses.

Sources:
American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (2012). Eye allergy treatment.
American Optometric Association (2011). Set your sights on spring allergy relief.

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Testimonials

Reviews By Our Satisfied Clients

  • "Had my annual eye exam this morning at Lake Lanier Eye Care. I elected to have all the tests and afterwards,Dr. Bordner reveiwed them indificually with me and reported that my vision was really good! Excellent experience with Amy, Diane and Dr. Brett Bordner, OD."
    Cheryl Carr / Facebook Review
  • "My visit to Lake Lanier Eye Care was pleasant and painless. From start to finish, the staff there exemplifies excellence and professionalism and has made a visit to the optometrist’s office an experience I look forward to rather than hope to avoid."
    Ashlee S. / Google Review
  • "Love everybody here! Wonderful experience!"
    Allison Fuller / Google Review
  • "Dr. Brett Bordner is fantastic! He is very patient and spends a lot of time with each and every person and explains everything he does. He makes you feel valued and very comfortable throughout the appointment. Highly recommended!"
    Sarah Clark / Google Review
  • "his was an amazing experience. The staff is extremely professional and the doctor was very knowledgeable. I highly recommend them!!!!"
    Laura Milum / Google Review
  • "My husband and I came to Lake Lanier Eye Care because the people are extremely friendly. We came in on our scheduled time and were completely done in 20 minutes! The service, cost and location are TOP NOTCH!
    Check out the Daytona Imaging. The service they provide with this imaging tops any dilation I have ever had. If you need help, call! They are ready to answer any question."
    Hayley Bean / Google Review
  • "The staff at Lake Lanier go all in. They are friendly from the moment they pick up the phone to the moment you walk out. My wife and I were excited to meet them the minute we called and couldn’t wait to get in! I highly recommend getting the Daytona Imaging. It is interesting to see your eye AND you don’t need dilation! Win, win!
    Conveniently located in Costco, so get you’re shopping done right after. You’ll be able to see what you’re getting then!"
    Cayce Koehler / Google Review
  • "Dr. Brett and his staff are very nice and extremely helpful. Easy and quick appointment. I highly recommend theake Lanier Eyecare at Costco in Cumming"
    Roella Day / Google Review
  • "Took care of an eye infection and very professional in my treatment."
    Ronald Swanson / Google Review
  • "My whole family uses this practice. Convenient location, great office staff, late day appointments and weekends too make this the perfect eye care facility for us."
    Bekki Davis / Google Review
  • "Staff is so nice & helping. Occulist was very nice & knowledgable . Felt very relaxed after mine eye check up."
    shweta feb / Google Review
  • "I was struggling with wearing glasses and contacts so Dr. Brett suggested I try Ortho K. After a short time period my vision was 20/20 and I no longer needed my glasses or contacts during the day. He was knowledgeable and took the time to explain the process making it a far more comfortable experience."
    Melody Million / Google Review
  • "I was blown away by this practice. The doctor & all the people there are so, so kind. Also, their equipment was really awesome. I feel like over the years I haven’t been getting the best exams as this equipment was far superior to other places. I was really amazed by it & the huge difference in my eye sight in one year leads me to believe that is obvious to be true.
    Also, I had been in a really bad car accident where I hit the windshield & has 2 dark black eyes. It was a coincidence that I needed a new prescription for my contacts. Having them exam my eyes and do the extra testing gave me such a huge peace.
    I could go on as I really appreciate a great business with super kind people who all do their job so well. I took my mom back a week later & she agreed. I will continue to go there for years to come."
    A. D. / Google Review