As spring approaches most of us will appreciate the beautiful flowers, blooming trees, the singing birds, and the bees. Unfortunately some of you will dread the sneezing, coughing, and the watery, swollen, and itchy eyes associated with Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (SAC).
Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC), is the condition that many patients often suffer from without knowing they have it. Unfortunately, we often do the wrong things out of habit.
Here are some of the more common things we shouldn't do:
If you don't receive relief from cold compresses, closing the windows at night, or artificial tears, then we have other options. Fortunately in California, if you have a therapeutically certified optometrist, they can prescribe a newer generation medication to alleviate your SAC. Typically it does require an office visit to confirm the diagnosis.
When their insurance allows, I personally like to treat my patients with the relatively newer class of allergy medications that combine an antihistamine with a mast cell stabilizer. They provide quicker relief than many of the typical over the counter remedies and only require a once a day dosage to keep things simple. Examples of this newer class of medications include Pataday, Lastacaft, and the latest medication, Pazeo. I have found all of them to be very effective, with very few adverse reactions and I feel they are immensely better than anything over the counter, like Visine.
In more severe and rare cases I will sometimes add a topical ophthalmic steroid as well. Fortunately those cases are rare but a needed option in some cases. In any case, the best thing to do is visit your eye doctor when symptoms arise. Over the years I have seen patients that mistakenly believe they have an allergic conjunctivitis when in reality it is a bacterial conjunctivitis or a dry eye. Thus an office visit is typically needed to delineate between conditions. Again, please consult your optometrist for more tips.