This time of year, we have many patients coming into the clinic with itchy, watery eyes. The main cause is allergy season but other issues can cause these same symptoms.
If allergies are truly the cause, the quickest way to stop an itchy, watery eye would be a cold, damp compress over the closed lids. The pollen or allergen will rest on the lashes, irritating the eyelids and the eyeball. Cleaning the lids every morning and night with cold water will help prevent allergies from starting. We especially recommend doing this after mowing the lawn, working on the farm or in any dusty environment, or being outside during allergy season. Using chilled artificial tears like Refresh will help calm the eye and resolve the itching.
Changing your pillowcase more often will help. Washing your hair before you go to bed makes a big difference—the static electricity in your hair will attract thousands of allergens, which will exacerbate the problems. Taking an oral over-the-counter antihistamine will help with itchy eyes.
If these treatments are not enough, then try over-the-counter Pataday which is a topical antihistamine eye drop formulation. If there is still persistent itching, see your local optometrist for a possible soft steroid eye drop formulation which will help tremendously. Steroids are good for short-term use only, whereas Pataday drops can be used safely all season.
Remember that not all itchy eyes are related to allergies and other causes include a poor, thin tear film, blepharitis, rosacea, keratitis and other types of conjunctivitis. It is best to see your eye doctor and they will use a Biomicroscope to determine the exact cause so you can be given the right treatment from the start.
The colored part of your eye is called the iris, and it’s made up of two layers – the thin epithelium at the back and the stroma at the front. The stroma is made up of colorless collagen fibers, and your genetics for melanin (pigmentation in your skin and iris) is also what determines your eye color.
People with brown eyes, for example, have a high concentration of melanin in their stroma which typically means they have plenty of melanin in their skin, as well. They will typically tan rather than sunburn. Brown eyes are a dominant gene.
Green eyes or hazel eyes will have some melanin in their stroma, but not as much as brown eyes.
Blue eyes are potentially the most fascinating, as their color is entirely structural and this is a recessive gene. People with blue eyes have a completely colorless stroma with no pigment at all, which means that all the light that enters is scattered back. As a result of the Tyndall effect, this creates a blue hue, just like the sky. People with blue eyes have very little or no melanin in their skin and will have more issues with sunburn and a higher risk for melanoma. Blue eyes are very sensitive to sunlight and polarized Maui Jim sunglasses or photochromic lenses offer great comfort to these patients. Children with blue eyes should have transition lenses or sunglasses. Even wearing a cap or hat makes a huge difference in comfort. Macular degeneration seems more prevalent in lighter colored eyes.
My three kids all have blue eyes and they are constantly reminded about the dangers of sunburn and melanoma compared to their cousins with brown eyes. As the warmer seasons arrive, I wish all of you a safe summer.
My friends ask if the sunglasses they buy at a gas station or department store will protect their eyes from the harmful effects of the sun. When it comes to buying sunglasses, you will want 100% UV protection, glare reduction, clear vision, comfort, and durability.
UV protection is to help reduce the risk of macular degeneration which is a very serious eye disease here in the U.S. Glare reduction comes with polarized filtered lenses. Clear vision comes from lenses that are made with specific equipment to eliminate distortion. Comfort comes from the right colored tint and how it is incorporated into the lens.
These components are not found in sunglasses from a convenience store and most cheap sunglasses are not made to last past one season. Their lenses are stamped from sheets of plastic that have waves and distortion.
If you want to know whether your sunglasses have 100% UV protection, our opticians can read them for you with our UV meter.
The most durable sunglass that offers the best protection for your eyes and the clearest vision is the Maui Jim brand. They have a special polarized filter that is unmatched and the comfort is amazing. They come in many beautiful tints and mirrors.
Maui Jim’s are the most popular sunglasses we offer because they check all the boxes your eyes need. Come in and try on a pair to see the difference.
At Alberhasky Eye Clinic, we commonly get asked the questions: “What Is Pink Eye? Is it contagious? Should I see an Optometrist or my Family Physician?”
Did you know there are actually more than thirteen different conditions that can cause Pink Eye?
Pink eye is a slang term that includes disorders that irritate the eye, and cause it to look angry, pink or even red. Patients usually think of pink eye as a contagious disorder that can be cured with “drops.” But many times, patients are incorrectly diagnosed and treated for the wrong condition. This is why it is very important to see your family optometrist for any eye condition, because they have special microscopes to view the eye under magnification, to accurately diagnose the correct cause. You can also use your medical insurance at Vision Center PC for these office visits just as you would at any other clinic. Many times, some types of ink eye need no medication, and they resolve on their own.
Here is a list of eye disorders that can fall into the “pink eye” category:
Lid Disease Such As Blepharitis, Meibomitis and Rosacea
Uveitis or Iritis
Episcleritis and Scleritis
Corneal and Conjunctival Foreign Body
Soft Contact Lens Associated Corneal Hypoxia (SCLACH)
Remember, at Alberhasky Eye Clinic, we not only specialize in providing comprehensive eye exams, we are also available 24 hours a day for eye health care and emergencies including the thirteen different types of “Pink Eye.”
Are you concerned that spending time in front of a digital device is hurting your family’s eyes?
A study by Broadband Insights states the first quarter of 2020 showed a 47 percent increase in screen time compared to 2019. Whether it is a parent working remotely from home, a child using zoom to participate in class, or a teenager staring at their phone, we have seen a dramatic increase in how many hours our eyes are staring at a digital screen. Digital devices and LED lights emit blue-violet light with an intense spike at 455 nm. This type of blue-violet light (along with outdoor UV light) unfortunately causes an increase in retinal cell damage, leading to age-related macular degeneration. This artificial light also disrupts your biological clock and causes digital eye strain—negatively impacting sleep, health, and productivity.
The best way to protect your family’s eyes is to filter and block the damaging rays that cause macular degeneration. Wearing glasses designed for the computer with special blue light filters can protect your eyes for the long haul. Wearing the proper sunglasses outdoors also makes a difference. Beware that not all lenses advertised actually have the proper filters to keep your eyes healthy.
Talk to the doctors at Vision Center PC to see which computer glasses and sunglasses are best for your family. We are here to help preserve your family’s vision for life.