By: Vishal Patel OD
Ocular allergy, or allergic conjunctivitis, represents one of the most common conditions encountered by allergists and eye care providers. Estimates vary, but ocular allergies are said to affect at least 20-25% of the population and is often under or misdiagnosed and therefore undertreated. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis has a way of sneaking up on you, making you feel less productive in day-to-day activities. The clinical presentation of the various forms of allergic conjunctivitis can vary greatly, from mild symptoms unaccompanied by ocular signs, to severe disease with vision-threatening complications. Symptoms are usually bilateral and can include a combination of itching, burning, watery or sometimes mild mucoid discharge.
When an allergen comes in contact with your eyes, your body releases histamine – a chemical produced in reaction to a substance that the immune system can’t tolerate, hence the usage of “anti-histamine” medications to combat allergy symptoms. Eye allergies are no different than allergies that affect your sinuses, nose or lungs. Below are a few steps you can take prior to the onset of allergy season that can help give you the upper hand in managing early symptoms: