Do your eyes ever feel itchy and watery – especially during Wisconsin’s dynamic seasonal changes? If so, you very likely have allergies. Allergies are your body’s reaction to foreign substances such as pollens, dust, pet dander and everyday household items like cosmetics and cleaning detergents. These reactions can vary but classic eye symptoms are mild to severe eyelid swelling, tearing and itchy eyes or eyelids.
Primarily, the goal is to reduce or eliminate the allergic particles (allergens) from your environment. Efforts like using HEPA filters, fragrance-free cleaning products, and frequent bathing/washing are beneficial in removing the agents from your environment. However, it’s very difficult to completely remove the allergens from your life. Fortunately, there are really great solutions to this problem.
Medical treatment options are over-the-counter (OTC) pills such as loratidine, cetirizine, and diphenhydramine taken daily.
To specifically target your itchy eyes, there are great OTC drops available. Olopatadine drops will provide the most control over your symptoms. Less-expensive alternative is ketotifen used twice daily. Other mainstay drops like decongestants can help somewhat, but they are not as potent and their effect doesn’t last as long.
Consistency is key. Understand that whatever allergen is bothering you, it is likely to be in your environment for a few days if not weeks. So I encourage people to use the medications daily for 1-2 weeks at minimum, and for 1-2 week blocks of time for recurrences.
I hope this helps improve your comfort during your allergy season. I’d recommend a visit with us if your symptoms are severe and/or don’t improve.
Written by David Weis, O.D.