Keep Your Eyes Safe From Allergies, Infections - NBC New York

Keep Your Eyes Safe From Allergies, Infections



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    Don't just blink when you get pollen in your eyes.

    An allergic reaction could leave you with a nasty infection and one that has the potential to affect your vision.

    That's nothing to sneeze at.

    Experts say there is a lot of stuff in the air and on the ground that can blow in your face.

    When it comes to seasonal allergies, your nose has no exclusivity on sensitivity. The eyes suffer too.

    "Runny eyes, with a clear liquid, a little sticky, and itchy," said Daisy Ramirez Vargas.

    The Bronx mother of two told us over-the-counter remedies were not doing her any good so she went to see the doctor.

    "One in three of my patients has had allergic conjunctivitis this spring,"said ophthalmologist Dr. Sandra Belmont, who examined Daisy and diagnosed allergic conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the clear covering of the eye.

    Dr. Belmont, who is also a clinical professor of ophthalmology at NYU School of Medicine, blames one of the worst allergy seasons on record for the eyeball suffering.

    "I thought I would scratch my eyes out," said Rhonda Riedel, who was also treated for allergic conjunctivitis by Dr. Belmont. Prescription antihistamines or decongestants are usually required.

    "It's important patients receive a correct diagnosis, said Belmont. She explained  conjunctivitis can be allergic, bacterial or viral and while the symptoms are pretty similar, the medications are different.

    Left untreated allergic conjunctivitis can make someone more susceptible to either bacterial or viral forms.

    "Left untreated these can produce corneal ulcers," said Belmont. Taken to the extreme, you could lose your sight.

    A few precautions can head off nasty bouts with allergens.

    Doctors advise washing your face, eyes and hands when you come in from the outdoors, showering before bed so you don't sleep with pollen, and wearing sunglasses outdoors to fend off windblown particles.