Eye Health: Seasonal Allergies & Itchy Eyes

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, spring time in Edmonton may not be your favorite time of year. Itchy, watery, blood shot eyes and that stringy mucous discharge can make spring time down right miserable. 

If you're like most Edmontonians, you've probably tried every over the counter eye drop in search of relief. In some instances they may do the trick, but make sure to read the label and follow the recommended dosage and frequency. If you're not experiencing relief from these commonly available products, it may be time to see an optometrist. An optometrist can prescribe varies prescription eye drops that can help to reduce or eliminate your ocular allergy symptoms. 

Note: An ocular allergy visits to your optometrist is covered under Alberta Health Care.  


Book your next eye exam in Edmonton with a 
Doctor of Optometry at Stonewire in Kingsway Mall.

Itchy Eyes?

Do you suffer from seasonal allergies? Do you fear going outside in the summer because of ocular irritation, nasal congestion and sneezing? Red, burning, watery, itchy eyes are just some of the typical ocular symptoms experienced by allergy sufferers in our clinic. Patients with allergies can also experience contact lens intolerance, blurred vision and pain. Not a great combination when all you want to do is get outside and play.

Trying to treat and manage ocular allergies can be a difficult chronic battle. If you have mild allergy signs and symptoms, consider trying some of these non-pharmaceutical treatment options for seasonal allergies first.

  • Shower and wash your hair every night before going to bed and after being outside. Allergens can stick to your hair and eyelashes further increasing ocular symptoms.
  • Make sure you thoroughly remove your makeup at night and regular change your mascara brushes.
  • Change your pillowcases, bed linens and bath towels regularly.
  • Consider switching into a 1-day disposable contact lens. Inserting a fresh, clean contact lens into your eye each day guarantees that you will not be inserting any old allergens back into your eyes.
  • Try to reduce your contact lens wearing time as much as possible. Only insert your contact lenses prior to leaving the house, and remove them when you get home.
  • Use contact lens approved lubricating eye drops to help flush your eyes free from allergens throughout the day. This same rule also applies to non-contact lens wearers.
  • Consider removing the carpets from your bedroom and house, and switching to a hard surface flooring option such as tile or hardwood. If this is not an option, have your carpets professionally cleaned.
  • Consider adding a humidifier to your furnace to help reduce the amount of dust and allergens in the air. A portable option can also work for smaller areas or in your office at work.
  • Change your furnace filters regularly, and have your furnace cleaned annually. Also consider adding an air purifier to help clean the air.
  • If you have a pet, keep them out of your bedroom and limit the areas of the house their allowed to go.

If you still find that your seasonal allergy symptoms are unmanageable, please stop by our eye clinic for a complete eye health examination by one of our optometrists. Our eye doctors may be able to prescribe some prescription and non-prescription eye drops that can provide added relief. They can also confirm that what you have is in fact ocular allergies and not another underlying problem instead.


Do you suffer from seasonal allergies?


Thousands of Edmontonians suffer from seasonal allergies every year. With spring comes dust, mold, pollen and the inevitable sneezing, runny noses, and breathing problems that follow. For some Edmontonians seasonal allergies may affect their eyesight causing swollen, itchy, watery eyes. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis may even prevent some people from being able to wear their contact lenses all summer long.

Non-prescription allergy treatments have traditionally proven relatively ineffective at resolving seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. Ocular decongestants like Visine can provide some cosmetic relief, but do not target the underlying cause. Older mast cell stabilizer medications like Cromolyn must be administered 4 times per day for 2-3 weeks before symptoms improve.

Approximately 10 years ago Alcon pharmaceuticals introduced a topical allergy eye medication called Patanol.  Patanol offered fast relief from ocular allergy symptoms, offered a simple twice per day dosing and was approved for contact lens wearers. Patients could instill Patanol before and after wearing their contact lenses.

Today, Alcon is proud to announce that Canadians will now have access to the all new Pataday. Pataday offers the same proven, safe, effective results of Patanol but provides patients with a convenient once a day dosing. Pataday is also approved in contact lens wearers.

So if you suffer from ocular allergies, talk to your optometrist about Pataday.