Alamo Optometry Blog

April 7, 2010

Allergies and Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

Filed under: Contact Lenses,Uncategorized — Tags: , — gkblog @ 9:33 pm

Allergies and Daily Disposable Contact Lenses

As appeared in Alamo Today, April 2010, pg. 24

             Just about this time of year, seasonal allergies are in full swing.  Speaking from a personal point of view, I know dealing with the running nose, sneezing, itchy eyes, and tearing are no fun.  I am already having patients come into the office with complaints similar to my own.  The treatment plan for each person is different, but the drugs, drops, and contact lens modalities we use are similar.

            Most of us take either a prescription or over-the-counter antihistamine.  These usually help alleviate some of the systemic symptoms of runny nose, congestion, etc.  In some patients, it also helps with some of the ocular issues of tearing, itching, and redness.  However, the main side effect of these medications is dryness.  If the eyes are dry, it can actually worsen some of the ocular symptoms because there are fewer tears to wash away the allergens in your eye. 

            For this reason, I also recommend topical drops to help in the fight against allergies.  These drops do not solve the problems, but generally enable the patient to function in the spring months.  There are several types of drops that can be used depending on the severity of the symptoms.  For a mild case, I usually recommend artificial tears and a drop like Patanol.  The tears are used to help lubricate the eye and flush out the allergens that are sitting on your eye causing the itching and redness.  Patanol is used to counteract the effect of the allergens on and around your eye while also helping to prevent further episodes.  For the more advanced case, I recommend a short-term use of a topical steroid, which will calm the eye down quicker than Patanol.  Because of the potential side effects, a drop of this kind should only be used for a relatively short period of time.  I usually instruct my patients to use the drop for about a week, and then use Patanol to keep the allergic reaction at bay.  I believe the use of steroids should only be used when indicated, but is a wise treatment choice in those patients that are really suffering.

            For those contact lens wearers, this is the time of year that leads to decreased wear time, build-up on the lenses, and overall intolerance of wear.  Most patients wear their lenses for less time, and/or dispose of them more often.  For all of my potential contact lens patients including those with allergy issues, I recommend daily disposable contacts.  These lenses are thin, easy to adapt to, do not require any cleaning or solutions, and are always comfortable because you put a fresh lens on every day.  Whether you are a recreational wearer for sports or weekends or wear them every day, these lenses are best for convenience, lens hygiene, and lens comfort.  A new lens leads to better vision and eye health because of no lens build up and a decreased risk for infection.  Even though wearing contact lenses during the spring months might be difficult, having a fresh lens every day provides the possibility of longer and comfortable wear.  Lastly, when combined with a rebate for a year supply and not having to purchase solutions and cases, cost is very similar to a year supply of 2-week or 1-month disposable lenses. 

            Obviously, every patient and situation is different.  Some patients don’t like taking drops and some patients are in love with their current lenses so daily disposables might not be an option.  At your visit, you will be evaluated on your particular signs and symptoms and be given the appropriate treatment plan.  The issues and treatments discussed have generally worked well for my patients in the past.  Most of the time, it will be a combination of these that will work best.

Dr. K. at Alamo Optometry is your hometown eye doctor for outstanding service, vision care, and designer eyewear.  He can be reached at 820-6622 or visit his office at 3201 Danville Blvd., Suite 165 in Alamo.  Visit our website at: www.alamooptometry.com  and become a fan on our Alamo Optometry Facebook page.

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