Are you suffering from watery, red, swollen eyes? As the leaves fall, allergies flare up, causing eye irritation and discomfort for many people in the Denver and Lakewood, CO, region. At Colorado Ophthalmology Associates, we see our share of patients struggling with seasonal allergies during this time when all the vegetation is becoming dry, dusty and airborne. Here is some information to help you during this uncomfortable time.
What are the symptoms of seasonal eye allergies?
Not sure if you have allergies, a cold, or even COVID-19? Here are some common allergy symptoms to help you distinguish:
- Red eyes
- Burning eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Bags under the eyes
- Watery eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Dark circles under the eyes
- Runny nose
- Itchy nose, roof of mouth
To further distinguish between allergies and COVID-19, consider these two key points. First, coronavirus usually does not produce red, watery, itchy eyes like allergies do. Second, coronavirus usually comes with a fever and allergies don’t1.
What are the causes of seasonal eye allergies?
When an irritant comes in contact with your eyes, the body’s mast cells respond by releasing a substance called histamines. Histamines attack the invader in an attempt to fight it off. This can cause the red, watery and itchy eyes.
Some people are more susceptible to allergens than others. If both of your parents have allergies, you are much more likely to suffer from them as well2.
The eyes can react to a wide variety of irritants and allergens such as:
- Dried leaves
- Dried weeds
- Pet dander
- Preservatives in eye drops
When should I see my ophthalmologist?
If you have red, watery, irritated eyes, you can get an appointment at Colorado Ophthalmology & Associates any time for an evaluation. We can easily diagnose eye allergies through a microscopic examination of your eyes as well as a compilation of family history of allergies3. Your eyes will be examined for infection to ensure they are healthy during this season of heightened allergens.
What is the treatment for eye allergies?
The first and easiest step to treat eye allergies is to reduce your exposure to irritants. This would include staying indoors with doors and windows closed, using air conditioning, wiping or brushing pets when they come indoors, and changing clothes when you come inside. Keep inside air clean with wet mopping and HEPA air filters, and use a dehumidifier to keep mold away. Avoid lawn work that would increase your exposure as well as hanging laundry to dry outside. Try to go outdoors after a rain has settled the pollen and wear a pollen mask when you do go outside4.
Over-the-counter antihistamines may provide some relief from your eye allergies. Your ophthalmologist will be able to recommend a good brand of antihistamine, decongestant or combination medication that can help. Artificial tears and saline nasal washes can cleanse irritants from the eyes and sinuses. Your doctor may also prescribe corticosteroids or antihistamines with mast cell stabilizers. Immunotherapy shots may also be a treatment option.
Get an appointment for an eye exam today!
If you are suffering from seasonal eye allergies, come to one of our two Colorado locations for an initial exam so we can evaluate your eye health. We’re here to help when your eyes are irritated and reacting to the environment. Call us today to make an appointment:
Sometimes headaches or migraines are accompanied by vision issues which can be very disruptive to a person’s day. These ocular migraines usually fade rapidly and are often not a cause for alarm, but there are some cases when a migraine accompanied by visual disruptions—known as a retinal migraine—signals a much more serious underlying condition.
So how do you know if your ocular migraines are harmless or serious? The board-certified ophthalmologists at Colorado Ophthalmology Associates have answered some FAQs to help you know the difference.
What are the symptoms of ocular migraines?
Ocular migraines that involve your vision can contain auras that are present in both eyes. Auras are disruptions in the vision that usually don’t last long and may or may not be accompanied by a headache. According to Mayo Clinic1, these symptoms can include:
- Flashes of light
- Zigzagging patterns
- Blind spots
- Shimmering spots
- Sparkling lights
- Blurred vision
- Fuzzy areas or swirled colors
- Sensation of looking through broken glass, water, heat waves, etc.
- Loss of color vision
- Depth perception issues
What are the symptoms of retinal migraines?
Retinal migraines are rarer than ocular migraines. They can affect one eye, rather than both, and are much more serious than ocular migraines. Retinal migraines can come before or accompany a headache and the symptoms can be recurring. The symptoms include2:
- Diminished vision
- Areas with decreased vision
- Temporary blindness
- Twinkling lights
- Tunnel vision
- New dark spots or floaters in one eye only
- New flashes of light in one eye only that persist over an hour
When should I see my ophthalmologist?
If you are experiencing any vision changes, such as ocular migraines or retinal migraines, you should see your ophthalmologist at Colorado Ophthalmology & Associates right away. We can track the changes you’re experiencing and help determine a course of action to try to head off future migraines.
If you have suddenly lost vision in one eye or have experienced decreased vision or changes in one eye, go to the nearest emergency room (ER) immediately. This could be a symptom of a much more serious condition, such as a stroke, diabetes or concussion.
What is the treatment for ocular migraines?
Patients suffering from recurring migraines are encouraged to keep a headache diary and try to pinpoint the triggers and then avoid them. Common triggers could be anything like disrupted sleep patterns, alcohol, caffeine, food additives, perfumes, dehydration, hormones or stress3.
Over-the-counter medications can help alleviate symptoms until they subside. Prescription medications are also available and some things like beta-blockers might be prescribed to be taken daily as a preventative measure.
Get help with your ocular migraines today!
If you’ve been suffering from migraines that affect your vision, come to one of our two Colorado locations for an initial exam so we can track your vision changes and evaluate your eye health. Our ophthalmologists are experienced in evaluating and treating ocular migraines and are ready to bring our expertise to help you start to feel better. Call us today to make an appointment: