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Itchy, Tearing Eyes? How to Know if its Allergies.. And What to Do About It. | Long Island Eye Doctor

Itchy, Tearing Eyes? How to Know if its Allergies.. And What to Do About It.
Meghan Schiffer, OD

Allergy season brought lots of patients into our office this year. Many were complaining of itchy, red, or teary eyes. Most blamed it on seasonal allergies, but only some patients were doing anything about it. The most common symptom of an ocular allergy is itching. An ocular itching sensation which occurs only during the spring or fall is usually diagnosed as seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. This type of conjunctivitis is not contagious, but rather is an excessive inflammatory response which occurs under the eyelids. Another sign of ocular allergy is redness in and around the eyes. Some patients develop mild swelling of the eyelids and skin around the eyes. Ocular allergies can be caused by more than just pollen. It can also be caused by dust, pet dander, and various other allergens.
When a patient enters the examination room with any of the above signs or symptoms, there are certain things the doctor will look for under the microscope to confirm a diagnosis of allergic conjunctivitis. Once the diagnosis has been established, there are eye drops that can be prescribed to ease the symptoms listed above. Another tip for allergy eyes is using a cool compress around the eyes to help reduce the inflammation.
On the other hand, many patients enter our office complaining of allergies when really the cause is dry eye syndrome or blepharitis, a disorder affecting the eyelids. The signs and symptoms for these ocular disorders can be very similar to those causing allergic conjunctivitis. Symptoms of dry eyes can include tearing and a burning or gritty feeling in the eyes. Symptoms of blepharitis include itchy eyes, especially around the eyelids, as well as a gritty feeling worse in the mornings. There are signs the eye doctor will look for under the microscope to help diagnose these conditions.

Whether your eyes are suffering from allergies, dry eyes or another condition, there’s often something you can do about it. So, don’t suffer through allergy season alone. Come see us for an evaluation soon!

Dr. Meghan Schiffer


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