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Cedar Fever and Eye allergies

Here at Reveal Eye Care & Surgery we are aware of the dreaded "Cedar fever" that happens here in Georgetown, Austin and the rest of central Texas. It can turn what should otherwise be a great winter into a time of itching, sneezing, and wheezing. Many times the symptoms can be severe in the eyes and we call that allergic conjunctivitis. The conjunctiva is the surface layer of the white part of the eye and the inner lining of the eyelid. It gets exposed to all those allergens in the environment. There are other types of allergic conjunctivitis such as vernal keratoconjunctivitis, giant papillary conjunctivitis, and atopic keratoconjunctivitis. When the allergen reaches certain specialized cells such as mast cells, these cells react and release histamines, and other inflammatory cellular messengers. These chemical signals result in inflammation and swelling especially of the conjunctiva on both the white of the eye, and the eyelid. In rare cases, the inflammation can be severe enough that it can damage the surface of the eye and cause blurred vision. There are many remedies for these conditions including oral antihistamines (such as benadryl), mast cell stabilizer eye drops, anti-histamine eye drops, and steroid eye drops. If the symptoms include nasal congestion, itchy eyes, and runny nose, it is often best to start with an oral anti-histamine. Sometimes the symptoms are just in the nose, and in those circumstances, it may also be good to start with a nasal steroid. However, many times the symptoms are in the eyes alone, or the eye symptoms do not resolve with an oral anti-histamine. We will often treat these conditions with a course of steroid eye drops and the initiation of a combination mast-cell stabilizer and anti-histamine drop. Sometimes we may even prescribe Restasis for chronic allergy sufferers. These medications help to reduce the release of the inflammatory signals, and also block the effect of those signals so you can get back to feeling like yourself. If you think you may benefit from this type of treatment, please call our office for an appointment at 512-686-1224.

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