Relief for Watery, Itchy Eyes – ALLERGIES?
Common causes of excessively watery eyes are allergies and dry eye syndrome — two very different problems.
With allergies, your body’s release of histamine causes your eyes to water, just as it may cause your nose to run.
It may seem illogical that dry eye syndrome could cause watery eyes. But sometimes an underlying dry eye condition stimulates your tear glands to overproduce the watery component of your eye’s tears as a protective response, leading to watery eyes.
Decongestants clear up redness. They contain vasoconstrictors, which make the blood vessels in your eyes smaller, lessening the apparent redness. They treat a symptom but not the cause of eye allergies.
In fact, with extended use, the blood vessels can become dependent on the vasoconstrictor to stay small. When you discontinue the eye drops, the vessels actually get bigger than they were in the beginning. This process is called rebound hyperemia, and the result is that your red eyes could worsen over time.
Some products have ingredients that act as mast cell stabilizers, which alleviate redness and swelling. Mast cell stabilizers are similar to antihistamines. But while antihistamines are known for their immediate relief, mast cell stabilizers are known for their long-lasting relief.
Antihistamines, decongestants and mast cell stabilizers are available in pill form, but pills don’t work as quickly as eye drops or gels to bring eye relief.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) eye drops may be prescribed to decrease swelling, inflammation and other symptoms associated with seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, also called hay fever.
Prescription corticosteroid eye drops also may provide similar, quick relief. However, steroids have been associated with side effects such as increased inner eye pressure (intraocular pressure) leading to glaucoma and damage to optic nerve.
Steroids also have been known to cause the eye’s natural lens to become cloudy, producing cataracts.
Check the product label or insert for a list of side effects of over-the-counter medications. For prescription medication, ask Dr. Landrio what she thinks would best most helpful. In some cases, combinations of medications may be used.
If you need an opinion on any eye conditions, feel free to contact Dr. Landrio for an appointment at her state of the art office in Merrick 516-546-4800