Drs. Heimdahl, ZoBell & Associates


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PONOKA EYECARE
(800) 662-7168
(403) 783-5575
LACOMBE VISION CENTRE
(403) 782-6077
BLACKFALDS EYECARE
(403) 885-4040
HANNA VISION CENTRE
(403) 854-3003
CORONATION VISION CLINIC
(403) 578-3221

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Ocular Allergies

Allergies affect over 20% of the general population and are on the rise in many developed countries. The specific reason for the increasing prevalence of allergies has not been determined; some believe it is due to the effects of pollution in urban areas while others consider that modern lifestyles don't allow for enough childhood exposure to allergens to become acclimated to them.

   
 
 
Allergies can take many forms, affecting various organs or tissues. Ocular allergies are among the most
bothersome forms of allergic reaction. The characteristic signs and symptoms of ocular allergies include:
Itching
Redness
Watery eyes
Swelling of the eyes and eyelids
 

Ocular allergies are often accompanied by allergic rhinitis (nasal symptoms). This is partly due to the fact that the eyes and nose are so closely connected by the tear ducts; substances that enter the eye can then flow downward into the nose. Symptoms include:

Runny nose
Sneezing
Congestion
 
Eye allergies are no different than allergies that affect your sinuses, nose or lungs. When an allergen comes in contact with your eyes, your body releases histamine - a chemical produced in reaction to a substance that the immune system can't tolerate. Special cells called mast cells make histamine. These cells are present throughout the body but are highly concentrated in the eyes. Location of allergy symptoms depends somewhat on where the allergen has come into contact with your body. Ocular allergens tend to be airborne (as are most other allergens).
         
The most frequent allergic triggers include:   Some triggers irritate the eyes but are not true allergies:
Pollen    Cigarette smoke  
Pet hair or dander    Perfume  
Dust    Diesel Exhaust  
Some medicines       
 
 The Eyes' Response To Ocular Allergens

When exposed to these allergens, the response in the eye is nearly immediate:
First, itching sets in and can become persistent and extremely bothersome if exposure to the allergen is continued.

Shortly after itching, redness of the eyes follows and can last somewhat longer, as the blood vessels of the eye are slower to recover.

The swelling of the eyes and eyelids comes to its peak later than the itching, as swelling is also caused by the blood vessels letting fluids out into the tissue around them. Swelling is the sign of ocular allergies slowest to disappear, due to the time it takes for the displaced fluid to be removed.

The itching can be considered the most uncomfortable symptom, whereas the swelling and redness are most bothersome in terms of appearance.

 

 
Blackfalds Eyecare 5013 Parkwood Rd. #4 Blackfalds, AB T0M 0J0 Phone: (403) 885-4040
Coronation Vision Clinic 5002 Municipal Rd. Coronation, AB TOC 1CO Phone: (403) 578-3221 Fax: (403) 578-3221
Hanna Vision Centre 609 2 Ave W - in the Kral Professional Building Hanna, AB TOJ 1PO Phone: (403) 854-3003 Fax: (403) 854-3074
Lacombe Vision Centre 5230 45th St. Lacombe, AB T4L 2A1 Phone: (403) 782-6077 Fax: (403) 782-6344
Ponoka Eyecare 5120 51 Ave. Ponoka, AB T4J 1R7 Phone: (403) 783-5575 Fax: (403) 783-5578

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