Allergies and the Eyes

Approximately 22 million people in the US suffer from seasonal itchy, swollen, red eyes. Airborne allergens, such as house dust, animal dander and mold constantly bombard the eyes and can cause ocular allergies at any time. But when spring rolls around and the plant pollen starts flying, it seems like everyone starts crying.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or hay fever, is the most common allergic eye problem. Various antihistamine and decongestant drops and sprays can soothe irritated eyes and nose.

Make every effort to avoid allergens. An allergist can help determine what you are allergic to so you can stay away from it. Staying away from outdoor pollen may be impossible, but remaining indoors in the morning when the outdoor pollen levels are highest may help control symptoms. If you are allergic to house dust, open windows and keep household filters clean.

Cool compresses decrease swelling and itching. Artificial tears dilute the allergens and form a protective barrier over the surface of the eye. Avoid rubbing the eyes. It makes the symptoms worse.

If seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is a problem, see an ophthalmologist. There are several new safe and effective anti-allergy drops that can be prescribed. An ophthalmologist can also make sure symptoms are not being caused by a more serious problem.

 

Champagne Corks

A flying champagne cork is an unguided missile capable of ruining anyone’s party. Since they are small enough to pass by protective facial bones and can travel at high speeds, corks can be very dangerous projectiles and have been known to blind people.

It is important to handle champagne bottles correctly and safely. Be sure the bottle is cold before opening the champagne. The cork in a warm bottle is more likely to pop unexpectedly. Chilling champagne to 45 degrees Fahrenheit also improves its taste.

After removing the cork’s foil covering, carefully remove the wire hood while holding the cork down with the palm of your hand.

Point the bottle away from yourself and others. Place a towel over the top of the bottle and tilt it at a 45-degree angle. Grasp the cork, and slowly and firmly twist it to break the seal.

Keeping the bottle at a 45-degree angle, hold it firmly with one hand and use the other hand to slowly turn the cork with a slight upward pull. Continue twisting until the cork is almost out of the neck of the bottle. Counter the force of the cork using slight downward pressure just as the cork breaks free from the bottle.

 

Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye)

Pink eye, the common name for conjunctivitis, is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva, the outer, normally clear covering of the sclera, the white part of the eye. The eye appears pink in conjunctivitis because the blood vessels are dilated. Pink eye is often accompanied by a discharge, but vision is usually normal, and discomfort is mild.

Either a bacterial or a viral infection may cause conjunctivitis. Viruses, which are more common and last several weeks, may cause an upper respiratory infection (or cold) at the same time. Unlike viruses, bacterial conjunctivitis is treated with a variety of antibiotic eye drops or ointments, which usually cure the infection in a day or two.

Conjunctivitis can be very contagious. People who have it should not share towels or pillowcases and should wash their hands frequently. They may need to stay home from school or work and should stay out of swimming pools.

Not everyone with conjunctivitis has an infection. Allergies can cause conjunctivitis too. Typically, people with allergic conjunctivitis have itchy eyes, especially in spring and fall. Eyedrops to control itching are used to treat allergic conjunctivitis. It is important not to use medications that contain steroids (they usually end in “-one” or “-dex”) unless prescribed by an ophthalmologist.

Finally, not everyone with pink eye has conjunctivitis. Sometimes more serious diseases, such as infections, damage to the cornea, very severe glaucoma, or inflammation on the inside of the eye cause the conjunctiva to become inflamed and pink. Vision is usually normal if the pink eye is really conjunctivitis. If vision is affected, or if the problem does not get better in a few days, see an ophthalmologist.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or hay fever, is the most common allergic eye problem. Various antihistamine and decongestant drops and sprays can soothe irritated eyes and nose.

Make every effort to avoid allergens. An allergist can help determine what you are allergic to so you can stay away from it. Staying away from outdoor pollen may be impossible, but remaining indoors in the morning when the outdoor pollen levels are highest may help control symptoms. If you are allergic to house dust, open windows and keep household filters clean.

Cool compresses decrease swelling and itching. Artificial tears dilute the allergens and form a protective barrier over the surface of the eye. Avoid rubbing the eyes. It makes the symptoms worse.

If seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is a problem, see an ophthalmologist. There are several new safe and effective anti-allergy drops that can be prescribed. An ophthalmologist can also make sure symptoms are not being caused by a more serious problem.