The oak pollen season has come to Tampa, and it is important that you are prepared if you have a tree pollen allergy. Allergies do not always present themselves with a runny nose and sneezing. One way that tree pollen allergy can manifest is with allergic conjunctivitis. Here is what it is, the symptoms, and how it is treated.
When the body’s immune system determines that a harmless substance is an intruder, like oak pollen, it releases histamine and other chemical mediators that cause allergy symptoms. Allergic conjunctivitis is the medical term for an allergic reaction that affects the eyes. There are thin membranes on the inside of the eyelids and exposed part of the eye called conjunctivae. These membranes are the part of the eye that is affected by allergies.
Symptoms of Conjunctivitis
You will be able to tell right away that something is not right if you have an oak pollen allergy affecting your eyes. Your eyes will be itchy, watery, and red. You may even have some mild discomfort. Some people who use corrective lenses may notice additional vision problems due to the irritation of the eye. If you wear contacts, you may need to switch to glasses until symptoms resolve due to increased irritation.
Treatments of Conjunctivitis
You can’t do anything about the oak pollen in the air, but you can treat symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis. The most common treatment is antihistamines that you take orally for controlling allergic symptoms. There are also allergy eye drops that may help relieve symptoms. However, long term use of some eye drops can be dangerous, so you should talk to an allergist or eye doctor before continuing with any over-the-counter or prescribed treatment.
Subcutaneous immunotherapy or “allergy shots” can change how your immune system reacts to oak pollen leading to reduced symptoms over time. This treatment can be highly effective in decreasing or eliminating symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
If you have symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis with the recent increase in tree pollen, now is the time to seek treatment. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment.