Itchy eyes have you rubbing with the summer pollen? As an Optometrist in Fort Collins I see the office filled with eye allergy problems every year when the cottonwood trees fill the air with summer snow. The best solution currently is usually an eyedrop prescription called Pataday. Pataday is s refined version of the older drop called Patanol. Pataday is formulated so you only need to use it once a day for maximum benefits. It has a dual acting mechanism, the first is an antihistamine effect that starts immediately to curb the effects of the histamine released from cells that have been exposed to pollen or other allergens. The second mechanism takes several days to fully function but it stabilizes the cell walls so they won’t break down and release the histamine when exposed to allergens.
Because you already have histamine released it takes several days for Pataday to stabilize the system and let the histamine already present dissipate from your system. That is why it is important to use it daily during a bad allergy stretch instead of only when your eyes are bothering you. Pataday has shown to be superior to a number of similar medications is a number of studies. It is a very safe prescription eye drop and we don’t hesitate to leave patients on it constantly if needed. Because it is the same drug in Patanol, there is a fairly long track record. The biggest drawback to Pataday is cost, without insurance coverage it is an expensive drug and if you are uninsured you need to discuss this with your eye doctor. There are other options that are much better than continued suffering with the itching and burning that can become incapacitating and even dangerous when driving.
Alternatives such as oral antihistamines can sometimes worsen symptoms by drying the eye and resulting in relative increases in allergen concentrations and dry eye syndrome. Some over the counter eyedrops can exacerbate symptoms if used on a prolonged basis.
Pataday remains the prescriptions drop of choice for seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) ( in plain English, the itchy stinging eye symptoms that accompany the trees and grasses growing in the summer).One of the premier benefits is the once a day dosing means you can continue wearing your contact lenses. Using an eye drop first thing in the morning allows you to start wearing your lenses 15 minutes later and not have to worry about removing them for multiple doses during the day.
Cold compresses and frequent use of non preserved artificial tears also help decrease the inflammation and dilute the pollens in your tear film.
Some patients find relief in alternative treatments. Similasan’s Allergy Eye drops are homeopathic formulations relatively easy to find over the counter.
More severe cases of allergies can be treated with the new generation of ester ophthalmic steroids that target inflammation with a unique, site-active mechanism of action. These modified steroid prescription eye drops are very safe to use without the high frequency of side effects of glaucoma and cataracts seen in older steroid drops.
Don’t delay treatment for eye allergy problemns. There are numerous options and no reason to continue suffering.