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Expert Q&A

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How can I treat itchy eyes this spring?

Asked by Henna, Virginia

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My eyes get very itchy when the weather changes in the spring. What's the best way to treat this? Oral medicines make me very sleepy.

Expert Bio Picture

Living Well Expert Dr. Jennifer Shu Pediatrician,
Children's Medical Group

Expert answer

Thanks for your question. I see a lot of patients who suffer from allergies at the first sign of spring. In fact, seasonal allergies are reported to affect at least 20% of the population. Some people have sneezing, runny nose and congestion while others complain more of itchy eyes or a scratchy nose or throat. Oral medications can help counteract all of these allergy symptoms, but if you have only itchy eyes, there are some treatments that may help you that won't make you drowsy.

First, try to avoid environmental allergens by keeping the windows of your home and car closed, and consider the use of an air filter. Refrain from rubbing your eyes and instead use a cool washcloth compress to soothe the itching.

Over-the-counter lubricating eye drops may relieve itchy eyes, or your doctor may recommend OTC or prescription drops containing an antihistamine and/or other anti-allergy medications. There are also some nasal sprays that can treat eye discomfort along with nasal symptoms.

Finally, people with severe symptoms may benefit from allergy shots. Please be sure to talk with your doctor about the best treatment for your specific situation.

Good luck!

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