With the fresh waves of spring’s new growth comes the dreaded eye allergy season. The misery that comes from red, itchy, watery eyes may have you rethinking your love of the great outdoors. How can you get ahead of spring allergies that can cause so much eye discomfort? Colorado Ophthalmology Associates offers tips for understanding spring eye allergies—known as allergic conjunctivitis—and preventing eye problems caused by allergies.
Symptoms of Eye Allergies
- Watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Swollen eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Burning eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Often accompanied by nasal allergies – itchy, stuffy, runny nose and sneezing
Causes of Eye Allergies
Substances in the air, such as pollen, grass pollen, ragweed pollen, pet dander, dust, smoke, perfumes, mold, and even cooking odors, irritate the eye and trigger the release of histamines to combat them. The histamines cause the eye to become red and watery and can increase the itchy feeling and the swelling.1
Eye allergies can be inherited. If both of your parents suffer from allergic conjunctivitis, your risk for inheriting the condition is greatly increased.1
Prevention of Seasonal Eye Allergies
If you suspect you will suffer from seasonal eye allergies this spring, you can begin protecting your eyes by eliminating exposure to the sources of irritation. If the fresh flowers and pollen affect you, avoid these triggers by staying indoors as much as possible. Use air conditioning and keep windows closed. Consider using special air filter units or add HEPA filters to your air conditioner and HEPA bags in your vacuum cleaner.
When you do go outside, try wearing sunglasses, goggles or eye shield to protect your eyes from the pollen. The best time to go outdoors is after a rain has settled the pollen. Avoid windy, dry days and early mornings when pollen count is at its highest. Listen to the weather reports that give pollen counts for the day. Wear a pollen mask outdoors.2
Frequently wash your hands and face to remove irritants before they are inadvertently passed onto your eyes. If you’ve been working outdoors, remove clothes and shower to remove allergens.2
Treatment for Seasonal Eye Allergies
While there are over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines, that can be taken, some of them can dry out the eye and not readily improve the eye discomfort you may be experiencing. Antihistamines with diphenhydramine, such as Benadryl™ or ChlorTrimeton™ can dry out the mouth and eyes. Try medications with cetirizine or levocetirizine, fexofenadine, loratadine or desloratadine that won’t cause drowsiness or dry eyes.3
Artificial tears can quickly wash irritants from the eyes before histamines are triggered. They can also keep the eyes moist. Use according to directions on the label and no more than six times a day.4
Other eye drop options include: corticosteroid eye drops, antihistamine eye drops, or decongestant eye drops. These should be used as directed and under the supervision of your ophthalmologist.4
Finally, there are immunotherapy shots that may be prescribed to help with severe seasonal allergies. Ask your ophthalmologist if you are a good candidate for this treatment option.4
Discuss your seasonal eye allergies with your ophthalmologist
Ready to nip your allergies in the bud? Call us today for an appointment and come to one of our two Colorado locations for a consultation. Our board-certified ophthalmologists are experienced in helping everything from mild to severe cases of spring allergies so you can enjoy the season free from eye discomfort.
If your eye’s lens has become cloudy, causing your vision to become blurry, hazy and dulled, your ophthalmologist from Colorado Ophthalmology Associates has likely recommended cataract surgery. One of the most common procedures worldwide, cataract surgeries can help people who have been noticing increasing difficulty seeing when driving, watching TV, climbing stairs, or even focusing in bright lights.
In cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist will use delicate instruments to make a small incision in the eye to remove part of the lens and then to remove the cataract. An artificial lens, folded up, will then be inserted into position1. It will unfold and become the new permanent lens implant, allowing light to refract onto the retina for a clearer visual image.
What will happen during my pre-surgery appointment?
Before your cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist will want to measure your eye for the right fit and for the correct power of your intraocular lens (IOL). The details of the surgery will be discussed and you will be given instructions for the day of surgery, such as not wearing any makeup, creams or facial lotions that day. You will also be instructed not to eat or drink anything for 12 hours prior to your surgery.
Your doctor will want to know what medications you are taking, so bring a list with you. You may receive instructions to stop taking some of the meds prior to your surgery. Additionally, you may receive an antibiotic eye drop prescription along with instructions to use the drops before your surgery. These drops may help prevent infections and lessen swelling.1
What will cataract surgery be like?
On the day of your surgery, you will need to have someone drive you home, so be sure to make arrangements. Surgery will last only 10 to 15 minutes, but with prep and recovery, plan on an hour in the office. Here are the steps to the surgery:
- Eye dilated with drops
- Eye numbed with drops or injection
- You may be given a light sedative to make you groggy and relaxed
- You will be awake and see light and movement, but not exactly what the doctor is doing
- Your surgeon will use a special microscope to view the eye and the procedure
- The old cataract will be removed and the new, artificial lens will be implanted
- Stitches are not usually needed since the lens will attach and heal by itself
- A shield will be placed over your eye to protect it while it heals
- You will rest in recovery for 15-30 minutes before being discharged
What will recovery be like?
Your vision will usually start to improve within a day or so, though it may start out blurry. Since the cataract was likely a brown or yellow color, you will probably notice a remarkable difference in colors. You may experience some mild discomfort for a few days while the eye heals. If it feels itchy, avoid rubbing or touching it. Your doctor may have you wear an eye patch during the day and a shield during the night.
Eye drops may be prescribed. It is important to follow these instructions to prevent infection and to protect your eye during healing.
Your ophthalmologist will want to see you a day or two after surgery. You will have a follow-up appointment or two within the first month so the eye can be monitored closely. If both eyes are receiving surgery, your second cataract surgery will be scheduled to take place after the first eye heals. By two months, your eye should be completely healed.
You may still need to wear glasses after cataract surgery. After the eye has healed, you will need to have a new prescription for your glasses. If you chose an intraocular lens (IOL) implant, you may not need glasses or you may only need them part of the time.
At Colorado Ophthalmology, we specialize in fitting the right IOL to the right patient to improve vision and to reduce dependency on eyeglasses. Your ophthalmologist will discuss the different kinds of IOLs with you prior to your surgery.
- A monofocal IOL gives you one clear focal point. You can choose whether that point is near, middle or far. Many patients prefer to see clearly farther away so they don’t have to wear glasses for driving but only for reading and doing things close-up.
- A trifocal IOL will help you see clearly in all three positions: near, middle and far. Unlike trifocal glasses, you will be able to see in all directions.
- A toric IOL is designed for patients with astigmatism where the cornea is flatter on one side than the other. This kind of IOL can either give you monofocal or trifocal vision.
Other than these IOL choices, your ophthalmologist may recommend phakic lenses. A phakic lens helps patients with severe nearsightedness. In this case, the eye’s lens is not removed, but this lens is added to it to correct the vision.
You will be on restriction for a few days following surgery with instructions on how much you can lift and bend and how much you are safely allowed to do. It is important to rest and to allow the eye to heal without straining it during this time.
What are the risks of cataract surgery?
As with any surgery or procedure, there are certain risks that come with cataract surgery2. These risks, though rare, include:
- Inflammation or swelling
- Eyelid problems
- Detachment of artificial lens
- Detachment of retina
- Secondary cataract
- Halos or glare from light
- Vision loss
What urgent conditions should I watch out for?
Complications from cataract surgery are very rare. However, if you experience any of the following, call your surgeon right away:
- Eyelid swelling
- Pain that doesn’t lessen with over-the-counter medications
- Increase or change in redness of the eye
- Flashes of light, halos, light spots in the eye
- Vision loss
Get an appointment for a cataract consultation today
If you suffer from blurred vision due to cataracts, we can help. Come to one of our two Colorado locations for a consultation to see if you are a good candidate for surgery so you can start to enjoy a more active lifestyle again. Call us today to make an appointment:
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:
During this time of uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be wondering if it is safe to come to Colorado Ophthalmology Associates for routine care and emergent eye conditions. Rest assured, your good health is our top priority. We are actively working within some of the strictest guidelines to maintain a safe and sanitary facility for our patients and staff.
What the CDC Recommends
We adhere to the CDC recommended coronavirus safety guidelines for medical providers including measures such as: spacing out appointments and maintaining 6’ social distancing within the building and waiting room. We continue some of the highest standards of facility sanitation and make sure our equipment, rooms and furniture are thoroughly disinfected between patients.
Our staff all wear masks and we require our patients to wear masks as well. Before coming to work, each staff member is required to take his or her temperature to ensure good health. Patients are instructed to do the same before coming to the facility. Additional screening measures are in place to be on the alert for any symptoms of illness.
Going Above & Beyond
In addition to the CDC guidelines, we have implemented additional measures of our own design to be extremely cautious during this time. We have removed any unnecessary items from the waiting room and exam rooms, such as magazines and extra chairs, to facilitate ease in cleaning efforts and to eliminate germ transmission. Non-essential personnel have been allowed to work from home or to schedule work after clinical hours. Non-essential visitors have been restricted from the facility.
All surfaces are disinfected between patients including chairs, light switches, counters, sign-in pads, computers and more. Hand sanitizer is readily available and encouraged for patient use. Our physicians and staff maintain strict hygiene protocol including frequent and careful hand washing as well as protective face coverings.
Prior to your appointment, you will receive a phone call informing you of the proper procedures to prepare for your visit. We are working to maintain clear communication with our patients to alleviate any confusion or unease during this time.
Talk with us any time
If you have any other questions or concerns about our response to COVID-19, please call us today at (303) 320-1777. Our two Colorado locations are working hard to provide some of the best ophthalmological care during this difficult time while making sure your health and safety is our top priority.
Playing a variety of fast-paced sports is one of the joys in life, but not every participant takes time to think about the connection between visual acuity and physical ability. If there is a slight variance to the eye, the result could be vision changes that reduce your performance. In addition to visual acuity, players need to be concerned about eye protection. Whether you enjoy basketball, softball, martial arts, tennis or even badminton, there can be a high risk of eye injury in any activity or sport.
Important vision skills required to excel in sports include things like depth perception, eye tracking, eye-hand-body coordination, peripheral vision, visual memory, visualization, visual reaction time and visual concentration.1 Not only can your performance be adversely affected by having a vision issue, but your physical safety could also be compromised.
If you are involved in playing a sport or activity, Colorado Ophthalmology Associates provides sports vision testing to determine if any vision correction is needed to enhance performance. Additionally, we can recommend the best protective eyewear to prevent eye injuries during play. These two considerations—visual acuity and eye protection—are important to discuss with your eye doctor before playing any kind of sport.
What does a sports vision test include?
There are several techniques and technologies used in testing for sports vision. Your board-certified ophthalmologist will use a few different tests to determine your visual acuity and eye health.
These tests may include a focus on:
- Overall visual proficiency
- Refractive errors
- Eye tracking
- Ocular alignment
- Contrast sensitivity
- Eye dominance
- Depth perception
- Reaction time
- Eye-hand coordination
What are the most common sports eye injuries?
An elbow to the eye, a finger poke, a hit with a ball, a collision or an impact can all cause mild to severe eye damage. The most common injuries we see are:
- Retinal detachment
- Scratched cornea
- Blood between cornea and iris
- Fractured eye socket
- Traumatic cataract
How can I protect my eyes while enjoying my favorite sport?
Prevention is the #1 focus when playing any sport. Having the right protective eyewear is crucial as your frontline defense against a blow, hit or a collision. Your doctor can recommend one or more of the following for your favorite sport:
- Shatterproof goggles
- Shatterproof lenses
- UV protection
- Sports glasses
- Face shield
- Eye shield
What sports are the most dangerous for eyes?
Basketball is the most hazardous sports for eye health. Baseball, softball, airsoft, pellet guns, paintball, racquetball, hockey, boxing and martial arts all pose high risks for eye injury and blindness.2
Get your sports vision exam done today!
If you love to play, consider getting a sports vision screening today to make sure you’re seeing everything you need to see to bring home the win. Our two Colorado locations provide convenient access to quality vision exams. Our board-certified ophthalmologists can also make recommendations to make sure you have the right protective eyewear or prescription googles to keep you covered for your favorite activities. Call us today to make an appointment: