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Eye Health: Spring is the season of splashy colors, unfortunately many see them through red, itchy eyes


By Dr. Dawn Stratton
Special to KyForward

As beautiful as this spring is in Kentucky, it leaves many people with red, itchy, watery eyes.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates 50 million people in the United States have seasonal allergies. Living in the Ohio Valley, which is an area known for containing a lot of allergens, many of my clients suffer from seasonal allergies.

Eye allergies are bothered by the same irritants that cause sneezing and a runny nose among seasonal allergy sufferers. The most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergies are pollen, mold, dust and pet dander.

In some cases, eye allergies can play a role in pink eye and other eye infections.



To find relief from itchy, watery eyes, you can take a few approaches:


• Avoiding allergens. The best approach is to do everything you can to limit your exposure to common allergens for which you are sensitive. For example, on days when the pollen count is high, stay indoors as much as possible, with the air conditioner running to filter the air.

Use high quality furnace filters that can trap common allergens and replace the filters frequently. When you do go outdoors during allergy season, wear wrap-around sunglasses to help shield eyes and drive with your windows closed.

• Removing your contacts. Because the surface of contact lenses can attract and accumulate airborne allergens, consider wearing only eyeglasses during allergy season. Or switch to daily disposable contacts to avoid the build-up of allergens on your lenses.

• Over-the counter eye drops. There are a number of brands of non-prescription eye drops that are formulated to relieve itchiness, redness and watery eyes caused by allergies.

• Prescription medications. If your allergy symptoms are relatively severe, you may need your eye doctor to prescribe a stronger medication. Examples may include antihistamines and decongestants.

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Dr. Dawn Stratton is the founder of Stratton Eyes. She is a graduate of Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and earned her Doctor of Optometry in 1994. Based in Lexington, Dr. Stratton is a member of American Optometric Association, the Kentucky Optometric Association, the National Association of Professional Women and the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists. She also provides eye exams for patients at the Hope Center, Room at the Inn and The Nest. Visit Stratton-Eyes.com for more information or call 859-245-2020 or email office@strattoneyes.com. You can also find the office on Facebook and on Twitter @StrattonEyes.


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