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Hawley, PA 570-226-1300

Allergies (Red, Itchy, Burning Eyes?)

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About Ocular Allergies

For many people, the changing of seasons is not only marked by a change in weather, but also in the development of eye allergy symptoms. If you’re a sufferer of seasonal allergies, you know the feeling all too well: red, puffy, watery eyes that seem to itch no matter how hard or how much you scratch.

Allergies develop when your immune system overreacts to environmental items that are generally harmless. These can be seasonal, such as pollen allergies (think hayfever), or situational (dander from pets). In either case, your body overreacts and produces histamines- creating the uncomfortable symptoms associated with eye allergies.

If you are a persistent sufferer of allergies, we recommend that you seek allergy testing to determine exactly what you are allergic to. Often, many people guess based on anecdotal information; estimations are often wrong and can delay appropriate identification and treatment.

Signs & Symptoms of Eye Allergies

The most obvious signs that you may be suffering from eye allergies are the symptoms associated:

Treating Eye Allergies

As cliche as it sounds, the best way to manage eye allergies is to avoid exposure to the allergen. If you are unsure of what specifically you are allergic to, allergy testing is recommended.

Managing Eye Allergy Symptoms

There are numerous ways to mitigate symptoms associated with eye allergies:


  • Eye drops – Many over the counter eye drops that are available at most pharmacies (and even convenience stores) contain antihistamines, which can reduce or even eliminate the reaction causing your symptoms. Their effectiveness wears off after a few hours. 
  • Decongestants – Over the counter eyedrops can reduce allergy symptoms by narrowing the blood vessels in the eye, reducing inflammation. Many also come with antihistamines, providing additional relief against other symptoms.
  • Oral antihistamines – Seasonal allergy sufferers are well aware of oral antihistamines. These can be found over the counter and in a variety of strengths and forms. However, potential side effects include dry eye and should not be used long term.
  • Mast cell stabilizers – Mast cell stabilizers work by preventing the release of histamines. They generally need to be used for a period of time before their benefits reach their maximum.
  • Prescription-strength treatment options – If over the counter treatments are not sufficient, we may prescribe heavy-duty treatments such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or or corticosteroid eye drops.