Oh, My Red and Burning Allergy Eyes!

This time of year, some patients complain about red, burning and tearing eyes. Often, these symptoms indicate eye allergies.

Eye allergies, also called allergic conjunctivitis, are quite common. They occur when the eyes react to something that irritates them (called an allergen). The eyes produce a substance called histamine to fight off the allergen. As a result, the eyelids and conjunctiva become red, swollen and itchy. The eyes can tear and burn. Unlike other kinds of conjunctivitis, eye allergies do not spread from person to person.

People who have eye allergies commonly have nasal allergies as well, with an itchy, stuffy nose and sneezing. It is usually a temporary condition associated with seasonal allergies.

In the spring, eye allergies often are caused by pollen. But you can get eye allergies from pet dander, dust, smoke, perfumes, or even foods. If you cannot avoid the cause, your allergies can be more severe. You can have significant burning and itching and even sensitivity to light.

Understanding allergies

An allergy is when the body’s immune system reacts to an allergen that is normally harmless. When an allergen comes in contact with your eye, certain cells within your eye (called mast cells) release histamine and other substances to fight off the allergen. This reaction causes your eyes to become red, itchy and watery.

Learn more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Protect Children from Eye Allergies by Encouraging Physical Fitness

Allergies are one of the most common conditions in children, with eye allergies, or allergic conjunctivitis, affecting up to 30 percent of children worldwide. Research from Taiwan suggests that there may be an easy way to bring that number down, encourage physical fitness.

Just don’t send the kids outside on days when air quality is poor. The research also showed that children exposed to large amounts of air pollution were at greater risk of allergic conjunctivitis. The researchers hope their study will promote physical activity in children and inspire policymakers to prioritize environmental protection.

“The rising prevalence of allergic diseases, particularly in the pediatric population, is a serious global public health concern,” said lead researcher Tsai-Chu Yeh, MD. “Although symptoms in allergic conjunctivitis are often considered minor, it tends to have a chronic course with multiple recurrent episodes and can negatively affect school performance and quality of life in children.”

Allergic conjunctivitis is when an allergen causes inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue covering the white of the eye. Symptoms include eye redness, itching, and watery eyes.

Learn more from the American Academy of Ophthalmology

Plan Ahead When Ordering Contact Lens Supplies

Contact lens wearers are urged to plan ahead when ordering contact lens supplies. Manufacturers are experiencing shipping delays, and a typical contact lens order will take two weeks to arrive at your home. Any specialty lens or a higher power lens can take up to six weeks to arrive. 

Bottom line: Don’t wait until you are almost out of lenses to order! Keep an eye on your supply, and reach out to us to order while you still have at least a month’s supply on hand.

News Alert: Recalled Eye Drops Lead to More Deaths, Removals of Eyes

More people have died after using eye drops contaminated with what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls “a rare strain of an extensively drug-resistant” bacteria. 

Fortunately, this eye drop has a small market share and has never been recommended to patients by either the physicians or staff of Bedminster Eye and Laser Center,” noted Lawrence V. Najarian, MD, Founder and Medical Director.

The eye drops and ointments from EzriCare and Delsam Pharma (photo at right) were recalled earlier this year. 

Three people have now died, eight people have suffered vision loss, and four people have had their eyeballs surgically removed in a procedure called enucleation. A month ago, the outbreak had caused only one death.

To date, 68 people in 16 states have been affected by the tainted eye drops, with cases spanning from May 2022 to February 2023, the CDC announced in its most recent update. More than half of the people sickened were linked to four outbreaks at health care facilities, the CDC said. Most people developed symptoms before the CDC issued a warning on Jan. 20, a CDC spokesperson told NBC News.

Laboratory testing previously confirmed the presence of the bacterium P. aeruginosa in bottles of EzriCare products from patients with and without infections.

Read more

What Are You Reading These Days

We’ve noticed that many of our patients enjoy reading a good book. We’re collecting recommendations for a “good read,” and we will be sharing them every month in our newsletter.

Below are reading recommendations for March 2023.

Have a reading recommendation? Email it to our Newsletter Editor.

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