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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11267
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I am a 61 year old female with good general health. I do have

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I am a 61 year old female with good general health. I do have severe allergies in the fall and they affect my eyes the most - itching, watering, redness and swelling. Frost always brings relief. This fall my eyes returned to normal and then just this week I woke up Monday morning and my right eye was a little swollen, and in an hour it was completely swollen shut. This has happened twice before but not in the morning - during the day - once at home and once at work. Friday morning might left eye was very swollen when I got up - infact it was swollen up in my forehead and down my cheek. Any ideas??
Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today. It sounds like you have a couple of things going on.

The recent event on Monday sounds like a fairly significant allergic reaction, as does the other events you've experienced.

Other then the drops have you tried any other treatment, such as oral medication?

Do you have any other medical problems or take any medication?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I not using any prescription medication at this time. After frost I don't need it.

I do take some vitamins & supplements

I know what you are going through. My middle daughter has terrible allergies and is very pleased that it is now 29 degrees outside her door and it frost every night now.....

In any event, from what you have posted your best relief, as you have already stated, will be Winter. Even though the swelling has been mostly around your eyes I think your issue is a systemic, rather than a local, one. As such, it would probably be best for you to consult with an allergist in the Spring when things act up again.

That being said, there is a home treatment that I recommend for patients who suffer from anterior segment/dry eye/allergies. While many of the things I discuss in this handout do not apply to you, I believe you could benefit from doing the lid scrubs and natural tears.

Let me type out this handout...and you just ignore everything except the lid scrub/allergy parts. Ok? OK.

Here it is:

It sounds like you are suffering from an anterior segment/tear film issue. Many times, for all sorts of reasons, the anterior surface of the eye starts to have difficulties. What can cause this? Well, there are a number of conditions but the most common are dry eyes, allergies and blepharitis....many times all three conditions act together to make you miserable. In order to solve your problem you need to address all of these issues at the same time.

When it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes are very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, if this doesn’t work then you can try temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then, if needed, temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then, if indicated, surgical ( non-reversible) closure of the puncta. The openings to your tear drainage system are called puncta and you have one opening on each lid, near your nose.

Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk. You may not be able to see this “gunk” yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination.

The best treatment for this condition daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.

Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec.

Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms.

I think this will help you until the allergist can plan some sort of systemic approach to your problem....

Does this answer your question to your satisfaction?

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

thanks - certainly worth trying. it still puzzles me why it only affects one eye at a time and seemingly so randomly. You would think if it is an allergic reaction to something that it would affect both eyes at the same time - mind you good thing that doesn't happen or I wouldn't be able to see at all until the swelling would eventually go down

Actually, it is very common for allergies to act like this....affecting one place seemingly at random. It doesn't logically make sense when you think about it....I guess that is why Spock is a Science Officer and Bones takes care of the sick folks lol!

Enjoy the Winter. My snowmobile is ready and waiting. :)

Dr. Rick
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