It is fall, and that means allergies for many here in Broken Arrow and Tulsa.  We want to get out and work in the yard, go for a run or bike ride, take the kids to the park to fly kites, but these activities are hard to enjoy sneezing every few seconds and your eyes are swollen and watery.  This occurs due to increased dust exposure and pollen binding to special antibodies resulting in the bodies response involving histamines and other mediators.  Along with the nasal symptoms, the eyes become itchy, red, light-sensitive, burning and watery.  In mild cases, the patient may not realize they have any issues at all with allergic conjunctivitis.  However, moderate to severe cases often seek treatment options.

Allergies in Oklahoma

In my experience oral treatments seldom help relieve ocular allergy symptoms. This is due in large part to the blood supply and the exposure of the mucosal surface of the eye directly to allergens. Ocular therapy often requires direct treatment with drops ranging from over the counter (OTC) to prescription steroids.  This along with cold compresses and advise not to touch or rub the eyes as that activity only makes the inflammatory cascade more active often alleviates most of the seasonal ocular allergies.

We all know an ounce of prevention pays huge dividends. Mast cell stabilizers should be started a few weeks before you normally experience an outbreak of symptoms. This medication binds to the receptors of mast cells preventing them from breaking down and starting the allergy cascade. Basically stopping it before it gets started. Antihistamines try and help after the allergy attack has already started.  There are combination drugs that have both the mast cell stabilizer components and antihistamines to get the allergy under control and keep it under control with the continuation of therapy.

Dr. Matthew Ozment