By Jill Tanner, MSN, APRN, NP-C

Spring is in the air! This means more daytime hours to enjoy the Southwest Florida sunshine. But it also means the trees and flowers are in full bloom. And for those who suffer from seasonal allergies, you may be looking for ways to nip this in the bud.

Springtime allergies are extremely common, and millions of Americans of all ages are affected by them. While different parts of the country have different allergens, the springtime sneezy season is common from coast to coast.

Most often, allergies affect the respiratory system, skin and, yes, our eyes. Ocular allergies are quite common, and we see many patients who are looking for relief from their ocular allergy symptoms.

How Do Allergies Affect the Eyes?

When an allergen comes into contact with your eyes, they release histamine (a chemical your body makes) in order to fight off the allergen. As a result, your eyes can become red, swollen, watery and even itchy. Some people also deal with a runny nose, coughing and sneezing. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.

In some cases, ocular allergy symptoms can mirror the symptoms of chronic dry eye. Crazy as it sounds, dry eye can cause excessive tearing (watery eyes) as your eye is attempting to make up for a shortfall of moisture on your ocular surface. Our dedicated Dry Eye Clinic exists to diagnose and treat this common condition.

How Are Ocular Allergies Treated?

While treating your allergy symptoms is important and can offer relief, it’s just as important to determine the underlying cause. And for this, you should trust a professional! At Collins Vision, our experienced optometrists can help determine what is causing your ocular symptoms and recommend the right treatment for you. Our in-office allergy testing is a great tool in determining your unique ocular condition.

Allergy testing involves a simple, non-invasive plastic applicator (no needles!) that gently scrapes the surface of your arm. Small amounts of the most common ocular-specific allergens that are common in southwest Florida are then applied to the surface of the skin. If you test positive for a specific allergen, you may notice a small bump or some redness. This tells us specifically what you are allergic to so we can determine the best course of treatment for your unique condition. Easy-peasy!

See the Difference This Allergy Season

If you or someone you love suffers from ocular allergies, relief is just a click or phone call away! Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced eye care professionals today and get ready to enjoy the Southwest Florida springtime without the nuisance of ocular allergies. At Collins Vision, we want all of our patients to See the Difference with the vision they deserve. We’d be honored to serve you.