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Don’t Let Fall Eye Allergies Get You Down

jamie in the fall

Red, itchy, watery eyes and swollen eyelids (along with sneezing, congestion or a runny nose)... these symptoms are a clear indication that allergy season has arrived. These allergic symptoms are caused by a reaction to allergens, which are substances in the environment that are usually harmless. If, however, you are one of the unlucky that is predisposed to allergies, these substances can illicit a serious and sometimes even debilitating allergic response. 

As opposed to food, medicine, or insect allergies which don’t often affect the eyes, eye allergies are a common symptom of airborne allergens including mold, pollen (from trees and flowers), dust and pet dander. The summer fall and spring are often the worst times for a high pollen count and many individuals suffer during these seasons. 

An allergic eye reaction occurs when your eye releases histamines in an effort to protect itself from a perceived threat (an allergen such as dust, pollen, animal dander, mold spores, eye drops or airborne chemicals). The release of the histamines causes the symptoms of redness, itchiness, burning and tearing. This response is also sometimes known as allergic conjunctivitis. 

The most common type of eye allergies are perennial and seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Perennial eye allergies are a response to household allergens that exist all year round such as pet dander, mold, or dust mites. Seasonal allergies usually result from pollen from plants, grass and trees that are found in the air and depend on the season and the types of pollens in the environment.  Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is often more severe than perennial and can cause puffy eyelids and itching which can make symptoms worse. 

The best way to reduce discomfort and prevent an allergic reaction is to stay away from allergens as much as possible. Here are some tips on how to reduce exposure:

  • Minimize outdoor exposure during pollen season: 
  • Stay inside when pollen counts are particularly high or during a windy day.
  • Keep windows closed and use air conditioner with a clean filter.
  • Wear sunglasses outside to keep irritants from entering the eyes. 
  • Reduce indoor allergens:
  • Wash bedding frequently in hot water and use mite-proof covers on pillows, blankets and mattresses. 
  • Prevent household mold by reducing humidity and keeping areas that are subject to humidity or dampness (such as bathrooms, kitchens or basements) clean. Use a dehumidifier when necessary and clean any mold you see with bleach. 
  • To reduce dust, clean floors and surfaces with a damp rag or mop rather than sweeping or dry dusting. 
  • Wash your hands and clothes after coming into contact with animals.
  • DO NOT rub your eyes as this can worsen symptoms, greatly aggravating swelling and itchiness, and can sometimes even cause an infection. 

If you have severe allergies, avoid contact lens wear or reduce wear time when allergies flare up, as contact lenses can worsen symptoms and do not fit as they normally would when the eyes are swollen. This is why having back up glasses is so important. Changing to one day single use disposable contacts can also sometimes reduce allergy symptoms.   

There are some steps you can take to alleviate symptoms of eye allergies. Over-the-counter solutions include artificial tears, decongestant eye drops (which shouldn’t be used for longer than a week) or oral antihistamines (which can sometimes worsen symptoms). If no eye drops are available, cool compresses (avoid heat) will also help to reduce the itch.  If these treatments don’t work, you can get a prescription for stronger eye drops (antihistamine or short term steroid drops to reduce symptoms), oral antihistamines or possibly immunotherapy (such as allergy shots).

If you are experiencing symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis, don’t just assume they are allergies. See your eye doctor to determine the cause to ensure that it is not a more serious eye condition. 

To our patients and community,

At the present time, TSO Fredericksburg is remaining open. We wanted to share with you the following precautions and safety measures we are taking to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect our patients and staff. We regularly clean all of our equipment between every patient. We disinfect common surfaces, work stations, door handles, light switches, chairs, etc, on a daily basis. This is how we regularly do business. However, with the heightened guidelines surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, we want to assure you that we have escalated our disinfection efforts.

Furthermore, we will provide minimal wait times so there is very little contact with other patients in the waiting area.

If you are experiencing any flu symptoms at all and/or cough, fever, shortness of breath, we ask that you please stay home. We are more than happy to reschedule anyone that needs to!

In addition we are also offering “curbside” delivery, in which we deliver your glasses and/or contact lens orders directly to your vehicle if you prefer not to come in at this time.

Again, as each day is new, please know that we have our patients and staff in mind, and we want to do all that we can to take care of everyone. We will keep you updated of any changes that may occur in our practice. Thank you, as always for trusting us with all of your eye care needs!

Sincerely,

The Doctors of TSO Fredericksburg

Frame Service Agreement, New at TSO Fredericksburg

You can now purchase peace of mind with your new eyeglasses for only $29 at Texas State Optical Fredericksburg! Replace of your broken frames for a full year, no questions asked!

  • Available at the time of eyewear purchase
  • Agreement covers one-time no charge frame replacement due to damage or breakage, no questions asked
  • Subsequent replacements incur a $15 copay
  • Agreement covers frame for 12 months from date of glasses purchase
  • Fee for agreement $29

Please feel free to call with any questions about the program, or feel free to visit us for further details. Thanks again for choosing Texas State Optical Fredericksburg.

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