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Seasonal Allergies and Itchy Eyes

Itchy eyes are a very common complaint that usually varies with the season. Spring is the worst time and fall is second. The large amount of agricultural activity in the Central Valley creates a large volume of allergens in the air that land on the surface of our eyes. You may be allergic to items in your house or the yard. It may be very difficult to figure out what causes your symptoms.


Allergic eye symptoms are extremely common whether or not you have other allergic problems. There is not a high correlation between allergen testing and eye symptoms. So, it is difficult to determine the cause of your itchy eyes with scratch testing. It’s also difficult to figure out the cause of your symptoms unless you repeatedly suffer when you are around the source of the itching. Treatment of allergic conditions with injections or oral medication probably won’t help your itchy eyes.


First and foremost, if you know the cause of your symptoms then avoid being near it. For instance, if your eyes itch year-round and increase when you pet the cat, you may have the answer.


If you are unable to determine the cause of your itchy eyes you are among the majority of patients that I see in the office. With billions of molecules landing on the surface of the eye each second, it is difficult to pick out the offending molecule. It just takes a few to create an allergic reaction.


It may be difficult or impossible to find the cause of your itchy eyes, but the good news is that treatment is very effective with over the counter eye drops. 


Artificial tears are available from many stores including supermarkets and drug store. Use them 4 to 6 times a day to wash away the allergens that are on the surface of the eye.


Antihistamine eyedrops can easily be found over-the-counter and immediately stop itching. Use them 4 times per day, but be aware that they can dry out the surface of the eye. If this bothers you, follow up with an artificial tear 10 or 15 minutes later.


Pataday is an outstanding eyedrop that is now available over-the-counter. It also has the ability to stop itching quickly and it will increase potency if you use it for 3 to 4 days continuously.


If all else fails, contact your local eye care professional for an examination


* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.