East Tennessee in the Spring and Fall is beautiful—unless you suffer from allergies. Then it can be torture. Pollen from scores of different plants can trigger allergic reactions that lead to sneezing, itching, burning eyes, and other uncomfortable symptoms.
And if you suffer from allergies—you’re not alone. It’s estimated that between one quarter and one third of all Americans are affected by allergic conjunctivitis, or allergy-inflamed eyes.
Allergic conjunctivitis can cause a number of irritations: tearing, itching, burning, puffy eyelids and/or redness. Allergens can inflame the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. With so many irritants in the air at this time of the year, it doesn’t take much to set off a firestorm of misery.
Also, eye irritants aren’t limited just to Spring and Fall—they can occur year round, with dust, pet dander, and hundreds of other sources. Even if you haven’t been allergic in the past, you could become sensitized and find that you’re suffering along with many others.
To determine if an allergy may be causing an eye condition, we perform a skin allergy test. Different substances that can cause an allergic reaction are placed on the patient’s forearms. Our allergy test is different than many doctors’ tests, which focus on food allergins. We look specifically for ocular allergens.
After waiting and relaxing a few minutes, the patient is then re-examined. If the patient is allergic to a substance, the skin test typically reveals it. It’s a fast process–usually only about a half an hour.
With the knowledge gathered from the skin test, the doctor may suggest an over-the-counter medication or a prescription to help alleviate allergy symptoms. The patient may also be given guidance on how to avoid coming into contact with the allergen.
If you’ve suffered from seasonal allergies that give you vision trouble, set up an appointment today by calling (865) 584-0905. We’ll help identify the substances that give you trouble and help you chart a plan to avoid them.