Spring is in the air and that means pollen is, too. So begins the season of red and itchy eyes for many sufferers of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC). Typical symptoms of SAC include, burning, itching, redness, and/or watery discharge. Chronic dark circles under the eyes, known as allergic shiners, may show up. Eyelids may be puffy, and bright lights bothersome.
SAC symptoms often accompany the runny nose, sneezing and nasal congestion associated with hay fever and other seasonal allergies. The itching may be so bothersome that patients rub their eyes frequently, making symptoms worse and potentially causing infection. The first approach in managing seasonal eye allergies is avoiding the allergens that trigger symptoms. When pollen counts are high, avoid the outdoors. Avoid window fans that can draw allergens into the home. Wear glasses or sunglasses when outdoors to minimize the amount of pollen getting into your eyes and consider goggles when mowing the lawn or performing other yard work.
Usually, SAC can be treated with over the counter medication and eye drops, but in same cases prescription medication may be called for.
After a cruel winter, most of us are looking forward to spending warm spring days soaking up the sun. Just try to avoid soaking up the allergens as well.