Itching = Allergy
If your eye or eyelids itch, you probably have allergies.
True eye allergy is easy to diagnose. If the number one thing bothering you is itching, then it’s allergy. If not, then consider another cause.
The lids, most commonly on the nose side, will itch and often swell. The swelling can even cause the skin to crack and swell even more.
Treating Allergies and Itchy Eyes at The Eye Clinic of Florida
In the Tampa Bay Florida area, our allergy season is often from Superbowl to Mother’s Day. There is a shorter and less severe season about a month before and after Halloween. Oak pollen is often the blamed culprit.
It’s less expensive to treat eye allergies than to do allergy testing. 99% of them are treated with the same drops regardless of the cause.
Oral anti-allergy medicines don’t seem to be that helpful for the eyes.
The best anti-allergy drops just became available without prescription in 2020. It’s called Pataday. Dr. Mahootchi has used this drug (also known as olopatadine) since 1993.
Top Advantages of using Pataday for Allergies:
- It lasts 12-24 hours after just one drop.
- It’s one of the best antihistamines period. Most get 95% or better relief of itching very quickly.
- It works a second way. It’s a mast cell stabilizer. That means if you take it regularly, it keeps you from having an allergic reaction in the first place.
- It so potent, it can relieve the itching lid skin even if applied only as an eye drop to the eye!
- It doesn’t have the side effects of steroid eye drops.
- It’s available as a nasal spray called Patanase. Its prescription is often better than Flonase or other steroid sprays without the risk of raising eye pressure.
There are many other over-the-counter anti-allergy drops. These are often old prescription drops that have lost their patent. They are cheap but often only give 2 hours of relief. One exception is Zaditor which lasts a little longer. None compare to Pataday. There really isn’t any competition.
There are many prescription drops that last up to 12 hours and give very quick relief. Most of them have that second mechanism of action (mast cell stabilization) that is helpful. Elestat is one example but with Pataday being over the counter is hard to justify getting a prescription for any of the choices.
Some terrible insurances only cover older, less effective drops like Cromolyn. This drop stabilizes the mast cell but isn’t a very good antihistamine. So, it takes a long time to work. Patients don’t like it as much as other drops mentioned above.
What if Pataday doesn’t completely give eye allergy relief? This occurs only 1% of the time in our practice but for those with more severe symptoms, a short course of mild steroid drops can help.
–Careful monitoring by your doctor is necessary. One can start both Pataday and steroid eye drops initially and discontinue the steroid in 2 weeks. Steroid eye drops should never be used long-term without an ophthalmologist checking often. Steroid eye drops should not be used
with certain viral eye diseases or glaucoma.
Allergy is often overdiagnosed and confused with dry eye. Dry eye doesn’t have itching as the predominant symptom. Sometimes the allergy is to an eye drop–such as a contact lens solution or a glaucoma medicine. An exam with your experts at The Eye Clinic of Florida should give insight into those causes.
For more information or to schedule an exam call The Eye Clinic of
Florida at 813-779-3338
Dr. Ahad Mahootchi has treated eye and eyelid allergies in the TampaBay area for over 25 years.
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