115 East 61St Street, New York, NY 10065
Phone: (212) 832-5456

Spring is Here and so is Allergy Season

It seems as soon as the flowers start to bloom, I see many patients with symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Pollen from grasses, flowers and trees can cause your eyes to get red, swollen, itchy and tear. This is called allergic conjunctivitis, and just like any other allergy is caused by a misfiring of the immune system, the body's natural defense mechanism.

When you have allergies, your body reacts to things that aren't really harmful, like pollen. It releases histamine, a chemical that causes swelling and inflammation. The blood vessels in your eyes swell and your eyes get red, teary, and itchy.

Spring Allergies NYC

Symptoms to Watch For

You usually will start to have symptoms as soon as the eyes come in contact with the allergen, but it may also take a day or two for the itching to kick in.

Symptoms of eye allergies include:

  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Itchiness
  • Tearing or runny eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Soreness, burning, or pain
  • Sensitivity to light

The following may offer relief:

  • Avoiding the allergen: Keeping the house clean, minimizing soft furnishings, and staying indoors when the pollen count is high can help.
  • Artificial tears: These eye drops dilute the allergan and help wash it out of the eyes.
  • Avoiding contact lenses. Contact lenses can trap the allergen on the surface of the lens. This leads to longer exposure and more severe symptoms.
  • Refraining from rubbing the eyes: Rubbing can make the inflammation worse. It stimulates the body to release more of a chemical called histamine, which causes increased redness and swelling
  • Cold compresses: A cold compress, or coolin artificial tear drops in the fridge can help soothe inflamed eyes.

Drug treatment include antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, and occasionally, corticosteroids. These can be prescribed by Dr. Lattman after your exam.

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