Eye allergies, or allergic conjunctivitis, spring up this time of year. These symptoms can be especially bothersome for contact lens wearers because pollen, pet dander, and other allergen particles can stick to the lenses and cause more irritation. Many patients with refractive errors and eye allergies are interested in LASIK. LASIK eye surgery can reduce your dependence on contact lenses and may improve your quality of life with eye allergies. Our ophthalmologists at Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons can determine if LASIK is right for you with an eye exam and consultation.
What Are Eye Allergies?
Also called ocular allergies, eye allergies happen when something that is ordinarily harmless irritates the eyes. Mast cells, which secrete histamine in the connective tissues to fight off the allergen, affect the eyelids and conjunctiva (the transparent coating over the white portion of the eye). The eyes become itchy, swollen, and red, and you may have tearing and a burning sensation. Ocular allergies are sometimes confused with dry eye disease and may come with light sensitivity.
The most common ocular allergens include pet dander, dust, pollen, mold, smoke, and perfumes. Some foods may also cause a reaction. You’re more likely to develop eye allergies if you have a parent with them. Most people with eye allergies also experience nasal symptoms, such as sneezing and an itchy or stuffy nose. Eye allergies can be seasonal or chronic.
Can I Have LASIK If I Have Eye Allergies?
Patients with seasonal eye allergies can still qualify for LASIK, but chronic reactions are typically not suitable for laser vision correction. Our ophthalmologists may recommend LASIK for patients struggling with seasonal eye allergies and contact lenses. However, scheduling the procedure outside your allergy “season” is best so your eyes aren’t prone to inflammation and irritation during LASIK recovery. You must also meet the other criteria for LASIK candidacy, including a stable prescription for one to two years, sufficient corneal thickness, good eye health outside of allergies, and refractive errors within the laser’s parameters.
One of the most common side effects of LASIK is dry eye, which is usually temporary, but patients with chronic dry eyes caused by allergies may have a higher incidence of dry eye after LASIK. Patients with eye allergies may need additional pre-op and post-op management for LASIK.
Most patients with seasonal eye allergies can benefit from LASIK. The only way to know if LASIK is right for you is to schedule a consultation at our Brookline, Massachusetts, office.
Contact Boston Eye Physicians and Surgeons at (617) 232-9600 or by clicking Book Online to schedule your appointment today.