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Allergy season is back – are your eyes ready?


Coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and throats. It's allergy season again.

The VSP optometrist Arian Fartash talked to Eyewitness News about treating common allergy symptoms and dispelling common myths about allergies.

Q: How can allergies affect your vision?

A: A lot of symptoms that people can get include itching and watery, red, swollen eyes. Now is the season for it. We also got a lot of wind, which will contribute to these different symptoms.

Q: If your eyes itch, are they always allergies or could it be more worrisome?

A: You want to make sure you go to your local ophthalmologist to check if these symptoms are allergies or are they chronic dry eyes? Because the treatments are very different. If you take the wrong drugs, you can actually worsen your dry eyes or make your allergies worse.

Q: What if we have itchy eyes from allergies. What is the best way to do that?

A: I love it when I get a cold eye mask from the fridge or freezer, and I come home and put it on. Because it also helps with the inflammation. You can go over the counter and take some drugs, but I would ask your local ophthalmologist. If you're a contact lens wearer, you want to make sure you wear daily papers. Or if the pollen count ̵

1; and you can check online – is really high in your area, wear your glasses that day.

Q: Let's dispel some common myths about allergies. Myth or fact: flowers are a major cause of allergies

A: Not all the time. Because flowers pollinate insects. The insects take the pollen from one plant and bring it to the other to be pollinated. So most allergies come from the pollinators that come with the wind – trees, shrubs, things like that. When it is very windy, the pollen comes hundreds of miles away.

Q: What about seasonal allergies that are not serious?

A: No, it could be very serious. It could affect how you sleep at night, it could give you breathing problems. Even these symptoms with your eyes can give you blurred vision.

Q: What about "shipyards causing allergies?"

A: I have many eucalyptus trees out there and have always blamed them for my eye allergies. But that is not the case. Because these allergies are hundreds of miles away from the wind. It does not just come from the plant in your garden, it comes from all over Southern California, they come and influence us.

Q: What about itchy eyes, is it always caused by allergies or could it be something else?

A: Definitely something else. It's a major cause of allergies, but if you go to optometrists, they'll be able to differentiate themselves from their tests.

Q: What about eye drops?

Q: I love these. That makes your eyes wet again. Again, it could be used for dry eyes or allergies. I use preservative-free because it does not have the stuff that some of the others have. And they are also pregnant.

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