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Computer Vision Syndrome: Children and Teens
Computer vision syndrome (CVS) is defined as the complex of eye, vision and body problems associated with excessive computer use. Most parents are rightly concerned about the types of people or subject matter that their children and teenagers mi.... Read More

Dry Eye Symptoms: Causes and Treatments
As discussed in the Introduction article, there are three main areas that contribute to dry eye symptoms: Inadequate tear production Tears that evaporate too quickly from the ocular surfaces Imbalance between the three main components of normal .... Read More

Dry Eye Symptoms: Introduction
There are multiple causes behind the symptoms, so finding the specific cause and the best treatment is not as straightforward as it may seem. Also, the term “dry eyes” may actually be one symptom of other conditions, such as.... Read More

Dry Eye Symptoms: Meibomian Gland Dysfunction
Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) is the term used for a family of eyelid margin disorders that cause symptoms such as redness, swelling, itching or burning, dryness, crusty lid margins, grittiness, and even the eventual loss of eyelashes. MGD is.... Read More

What's Your Vision "Eye-Q?"
According to a survey done by the American Optometric Association, the first American Eye-Q ™ parents lack important knowledge about eye health and vision care for their children and themselves. Want to see how you do against the original part.... Read More


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Now that the summer is upon us we can finally enjoy the many outdoor activities of summer. For many Essex County residents this is also a time where seasonal allergies can cause problems with our eyes and respiratory systems.

Seasonal allergies are caused by specific allergens such as ragweed grass or tree pollen. When these allergens come in contact with your body they are considered foreign particles. The allergens bind themselves to mast cells which are loaded with histamine. In response your immune system starts to release large quantities of histamine and other chemicals from these mast cells to combat the allergens. It is the histamine action that produces the symptoms of sneezing coughing nasal congestion red itchy and watery eyes. Seasonal allergic reactions can begin at any age. Areas that have poor air quality (such as Essex County) can result in more intense symptoms.

Unfortunately seasonal allergy symptoms can be difficult to completely eradicate. The first step in the management of this condition involves avoiding the specific allergen you are allergic to. This can be difficult especially if you are active outdoors in the summer. There are simple ways to get some relief such as keeping the windows of your home and car closed and turning the air conditioner on remembering that pollen release is at its peak in the morning and early afternoon and making sure the filters in your furnace are clean. Other more aggressive allergy relief remedies involve oral over-the-counter anti-histamine medications taken during your particular allergy season. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine which brand is best for your needs. For those who suffer from severe seasonal allergies allergy shots may be the treatment of choice. This is usually preceded by tests performed by an allergist to determine exactly what substances you are allergic to.

In addition to the above remedies to relieve ocular symptoms of seasonal allergies further comfort can be achieved by placing a clean face cloth soaked in ice cold water over closed eyes. Over-the-counter artificial tear drops and anti-histamine eye drops can also help reduce red itchy and watery eyes. Prescription drop medications may be considered with more severe allergic symptoms. Eye drops that combine an antihistamine and a mast cell stabilizer work best by providing immediate and long term relief.

For those who suffer from seasonal allergies the ocular symptoms can be very uncomfortable. Despite all the different remedies out there to deal with seasonal allergies there is no cure. It is not recommended to diagnose and treat your symptoms yourself. Consult your eye care professional to recommend the best therapy to provide relief from seasonal allergies.