Help for Seasonal Allergy Sufferers

Discussion and help for seasonal allergy suffers this spring

  • Apr. 26, 2015 9:00 a.m.

NC) Canadians with allergies can be quick to seek help for their sneezing, sniffling and nasal congestion.

But allergies can also have a painful effect on the eyes, causing them to be red, itchy, burning, and watery. Like all allergies, those that afflict the eyes are caused by the body’s immune system.

“The trouble starts when the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane that lines the eyelids and covers the whites of the eyes) comes into contact with something that, while actually harm- less, is seen as a threat,” says Jason Saunders, a doctor of optometry.

“In a mistaken attempt to fight off the threat, the immune system makes antibodies that cause the eyes to release histamine and other sub- stances that, in turn, make eyes red, itchy and watery.”

For seasonal eye allergy sufferers, it is recommended to begin treatment early in the season.

Remedies to relieve symptoms can involve oral over-the-counter antihistamine medications, plus eye drops, cold compresses, and a variety of lifestyle changes such as keeping windows closed, and cleaning the filters of your air conditioner and furnace.

Regardless of the season, eye allergy symptoms can be uncomfortable. Consult your doctor for the treatment that best suits your needs.