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The eyes are the windows to the soul because they reflect our state of mind. 

This certainly can’t be true if our eyes are red, swollen, itchy and watery.  

Spring is here and for many that means itchy, watery eyes. Don’t feel so bad, 

it’s not just you. The mold spores, dust, pollen, and a host of other allergens 

that come with spring are causing eye problems for many Americans. 

Approximately 54 million people, about 20% of the U.S. population, have 

allergies. Almost half of these people have allergic eye disease.
The eyes are an easy target. When 

you open your eyes, the conjunctiva 

becomes directly exposed to the 

environment. The conjunctiva is 

the tissue lining that covers the 

white surface of the eyeball and the 

inner folds of the eyelids. It is rich 

in blood vessels and contains more 

mast cells than the lungs. As pollen, 

dust, mold, pet dander, and many 

other allergens come in contact with 

your eyes, they evoke an allergic 

response that causes those itchy, 

watery eyes.
Rubbing itchy, watery eyes is a natural response. However, rubbing usually 

worsens the allergic reaction due to the physical impact on mast cells, which 

causes them to release more mediators of the immune response… making 

the allergic response worse. Therefore, do not rub your eyes!

Treating eye allergies is not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are many 

factors to getting the right treatment for your symptoms. Most people 

with eye allergies treat themselves with OTC products. Some conditions 

that cause eye pain, extreme redness, or heavy discharge are serious, with 

potential sight-threatening complications. The most common “treatment” 

is to avoid what’s causing your eye allergy. Itchy eyes? Keep your home free 

of pet dander and dust. On high pollen days, try to stay indoors thereby 

avoiding many outdoor allergens. In our home, use a high quality filter that 

can trap most airborne allergens and replace it frequently. 
Spring can be particularly hard on contact lens wearers. Airborne allergens 

get on your contact lenses causing discomfort, and they exaggerate your 

allergy symptoms. Besides wearing glasses more frequently, try switching to 

daily disposable contacts. Because you replace these contacts nightly, these 

types of lenses can allow for contact lens use with lot less symptoms.  
Itchy, watery eyes are not something you just have to live with this spring. 

There are many excellent ocular medications to control eye allergies and I 

encourage allergy sufferers go to their eye doctors to discuss options to help 

you enjoy this wonderful season.

Itchy, Watery Eyes

by Dr. Dipak R. Kalani


Dr. Kalani, a Shadow Creek resident is an optometrist 

and owner of Vision Source Family Eye Care. For more 

information on healthy eye exams or to schedule an 

appointment, call 713-436-7544 or visit: