Common Summer Ocular Allergies

allergiesSpring and fall aren’t the only times that your eyes can be bothered by allergies. If your eyes feel dry, or if they feel overly watery, you may be suffering from common summer ocular allergies. Learn more about these allergies and how to treat them throughout the summer.

Typical Eye Allergies in the Summer Months

Know the symptoms—The most typical eye allergy symptoms come along with the symptoms that are typical of nasal allergies, such as sneezing, sniffling, or a stuffy nose. Allergies that are specific to the eyes often show signs that include itching, redness, burning, or watery eyes. If you experience any of these symptoms, or if you experience many of them, you probably have eye allergies.

Learn what your triggers are—Whether your eyes become irritated from outdoor allergens, such as pollens from the grass or trees, or whether your eyes become irritated due to indoor allergens, such as pet dander, avoiding your triggers will alleviate your allergies. Once you know what aggravates your allergies, make sure to stay away from your allergens.

Treat your allergies—Treating your allergies can be as simple as using artificial tears to hydrate the eye. You can also try taking an antihistamine, although sometimes these have a tendency of drying out the eye or making you drowsy, so make sure to take one that will not make you tired before operating a vehicle. You can also try allergy shots to alleviate the symptoms associated with eye allergies. If your allergies are caused by outdoor allergens, make sure to stay inside as much as possible.

Get relief from your summer eye allergies! To learn more about common eye allergens, or to schedule an eye exam at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Ocular Allergies in Spring

optometristWhile it may be warming up outside, your allergies may be suffering from this change in weather. If your seasonal allergies have affected your eyes, take some advice from an optometrist and follow these simple tips to make sure that your eyes are in their tip-top shape!

Allergy Advice from an Optometrist

In Phoenix, it is common to have allergy reactions from trees and grass. Learn more about the following allergies.

  • Over the next three months, the following trees will bloom in Arizona: Cottonwood, Palo Verde, Mesquite, Mulberry, Olive, Arizona Ash, and Sycamore. If you have noticed that your eyes are affected by any of these trees, make sure to take some allergy medication.
  • Pollen can also affect your eyes. Pollen that comes from trees, flowers, and other plants may even get into your house, so it is important to keep doors and windows shut in order to ensure the health of your body and your eyes. Optometrists recommend that if you are allergic to pollen, you should make sure to remove any weeds and Bermuda grass from your yard so that pollen production is reduced.
  • If it’s windy, stay inside. Pollen and other allergens from trees and spores can move easily in the wind, which can easily stir up your allergies and make them worse.
  • Make sure to change the air filters in your house. This simple task can take a difference in the quality of the air that you breathe and that your eyes are exposed to each day. General spring cleaning is also a great way to reduce the amount of pollen and dust in the air in your living environment.

Spring is the season of change and the season of allergies. Make sure to put your eye health first throughout the season. To learn more about allergy prevention, or to schedule an eye exam with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Struggling With Spring Allergies?  

Ocular AllergiesMany of us are ecstatic with the arrival of Spring. The cool weather subsided and colorful blooms are springing everywhere.  Unfortunately, springtime is also known for bringing ocular allergies to millions of people with over-active immune systems. As plants start to bloom and there is an increase of pollen in the air, your eyes activate their defense mechanism—which means a runny nose and watery eyes all season long. If you are suffering from Spring allergies, these tips will help you avoid allergens and keep symptoms under control.

How To Avoid Spring Allergy Triggers

While dealing with ocular allergies is not ideal, staying inside the house from April through November is not an option.

Tracking pollen count – A great way to being able to enjoy the outdoors is to track the pollen count in the air. You can do this through websites such as, which provide current allergy reports and which are the top allergens in the air.

Plan ahead to avoid top allergens – In Arizona, people tend to be mostly affected by allergens from trees such as Ash, Mulberry, Poplar, Olive, Alligator Juniper, Oneseed Juniper, and Palo Verde.  The best tactic to avoid these top allergens, is to plan ahead. If you need medicine to control your symptoms, you should start taking small doses slightly before the season begins. Doing so you can prevent the inflammatory response from allergens rather than getting the inflammation under control. In addition, avoid peak allergy days—hot, dry, and windy days. The best time to be outdoors if you suffer from allergies is on cool, less windy days and after it has rained.

Stay clean – Take a shower and wash your clothes after you have been outdoors—especially if you were somewhere near trees and grass—to rinse away any pollen and dust that you may be carrying.

Pets – If you have pets, keep them as clean and groomed as possible to avoid pet dander and prevent them from bringing dust and other allergens inside your house.

Clean your home – Vacuum and clean surfaces constantly to minimize the amount of dust mites and other allergens inside your house.

For more information about ocular allergies or to schedule an eye exam, visit our website.

Eyecare Center for Phoenix Families

Eyecare CenterMaintaining healthy eyes requires regular vision and eye health exams. However, finding an eye care provider that is right for you and your family can be challenging. If you are looking for an eyecare center with Optometrists that are experienced in all areas of vision care, keep reading to find out what our friendly staff at Valley Eyecare Center can offer you.

  • Comprehensive Eye Exams – During a comprehensive eye exam, our Optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center can determine what prescription you need for glasses or contact lenses, check for common eye diseases, and ensure that your eyesight is in good shape and that your eyes are working as they should.
  • Management of Glaucoma – Although incurable, we can help you manage Glaucoma by offering surgery, pills, and eye drops. The goal of any treatment is to prevent loss of vision, as vision loss from glaucoma is irreversible. If detected early, there is a high chance that loss of vision would not happen.
  • Ocular Allergies – Some people with ocular allergies suffer from itchiness, and although some do not, it is the main cause of discomfort. Others can experience a stinging sensation and sleepiness that causes the rubbing of eyes. Symptoms also involve swelling of the lid, sensitivity to light, heavy sensation on the lids, redness, etc.
  • Age Related Macular Degeneration – Although no cure is yet available, age related macular degeneration treatments can aid in the prevention of vision loss or subdue the advancement of the disease.
  • Eyeglass Guide – Eyeglass Guide will help you better comprehend the many lens choices we have for you. This tool will take you through a survey of questions about you, your lifestyle and your specific eyeglass needs. Once you have reached the end, you will receive eyewear suggestions specifically tailored to meet your requirements.

We look forward to serving you at Valley Eyecare Center. For more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our Optometrists, visit our website.

Tricks to Prevent and Manage Fall Allergies


Ocular AllergiesFall is in the air—and so are eye allergies. Environmental allergies can last throughout the entire season and are usually triggered by pollen, grass and weeds. In Arizona, with the rise of humidity and frequent storms, dust and mold are also common causes for seasonal eye allergies. Symptoms can include itching, burning, watering and redness, and could be accompanied by common nasal allergy symptoms. Don’t let irritated eyes take over the season, prevent and manage ocular allergies by following these tricks.


  • Glasses: Pollen deposited in the air is one of the main causes of eye allergies. Therefore, wearing glasses and sunglasses outdoors can help keep the allergen out of your eyes.
  • Wash your Hands: It’s no secret that washing hands is a great way to stop the spread of bacteria and allergens. It is important to do so after touching animals, being outdoors and being around dust.
  • Avoid Opening Windows: With the humidity rising, leaving windows open can do more than simply bring allergens indoors—it can increase the risk of mold and mildew. The use of air conditioning and dehumidifiers can also help reduce air humidity.
  • Cleaning: Cleaning indoor areas and removing dust will minimize the growth of mold and prevent ocular allergies caused by dust and dirt.


  • Artificial Tears: These can temporarily wash off allergens and moisten dry and irritated eyes. Eye drops can be used as often as needed to soothe and provide comfort to the eyes.
  • Decongestant Eye Drops: They help reduce redness associated with ocular allergies by narrowing the eyes’ blood vessels. These can be bought over the counter, however, they aren’t for long-term use and it is recommended to always ask your doctor before using them.

If you are currently suffering from ocular allergies or would like more information about how you can prevent and manage seasonal allergies, call 602-242-6888 or visit our website.

Why are Eye Exams Important?

Eye ExamAn eye exam does more than simply test your visual clarity. Here are some important reasons why you and your family should make eye exams a regular annual activity.

Detect eye conditions

Do you assume that your eyes are fine if you have no redness, itching or blurred vision? Many common eye conditions don’t present symptoms until well into their development. The earlier a disorder such as glaucoma or cataracts is detected, the better the chances of successful treatment.

Help children learn better

Poor eyesight makes it difficult for kids to focus in and out of school. Widespread use of video games, computers and other devices creates additional strain on young eyes. According to the Vision Council of America, one in four children uses digital devices for more than three hours a day. Comprehensive eye exams prepare your kids to make the most of the upcoming school year.

Uncover general health problems

Eye health is closely entwined with overall health. Did you know that an eye exam can detect signs of diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure? Regular eye exams should be as much a part of your wellness program as annual physicals.

Monitor corrective needs

Even if you already have glasses or contact lenses, treatment doesn’t end there. Your eyes change as you age, meaning your prescription will need to be updated periodically. If you’ve been suffering from unexplained headaches or sore, itchy eyes, new corrective lenses could be the answer.

Why not plan your eye exam now while it’s fresh in your mind? Contact Valley Eyecare Center today to book your appointment.

Why Are My Eyes Irritated?

Young boy with tissue paper rubbing eye in backyardDealing with irritated eyes makes it difficult to work, drive and do many other daily activities. While it’s easy to figure out why your eyes are bothering you in certain cases, such as being near cigarette smoke, it can be hard to pinpoint the cause at other times. There are many things that can make your eyes look red or feel irritated. Once you know the cause, you can take steps to help your eyes feel better and prevent further irritation.


Dust, pet dander, pollen and other allergens can make your eyes red, watery and itchy. You might also be sensitive to other irritants, such as chlorine in pools. Keep in mind that you might have other symptoms if your eyes are irritated by allergens, such as a runny nose or itchy skin.


Dirt, sand, grit or other debris can cause pain, scratchiness and irritation. Your eyes might also water and be sensitive to light. Since these foreign objects could scratch your cornea, it’s important to flush your eyes with water and contact your eye doctor if your eyes are still bothering you.

 Infections and Inflammation

Bacterial and viral infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye), can cause severe redness and a sticky discharge. Your eyelids might be coated with crust, and the infection could spread from one eye to the other. Other infections and inflammation that can cause irritation include inflammation of the uvea, known as uveitis, or swelling along the eyelid, called blepharitis.


Trauma to the eye can lead to pain and irritation. If you have an eye injury, seek medical eye care in order to reduce the risk of developing serious vision problems. Wearing contact lenses too much can also end up causing corneal scratches or other problems that can irritate your eyes.

Medical Conditions

Some underlying medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or other autoimmune disorders, can cause eye irritation due to dryness. This irritation can turn into a chronic condition, so it’s important to discuss proper eye care with your eye doctor. Your doctor should also be able to provide you with drops to reduce dryness and irritation.

If your eyes continue to bother you, don’t hesitate to make an eye care appointment. Your eye doctor will be able to determine the cause and recommend treatment to relieve irritation and protect your vision.

Prevent Dry Eyes this Cold Season

Dry EyeDry eyes might not be a terribly debilitating condition on their own, but with cold season in full swing, they can lead to more severe problems.  People with dry eyes tend to rub them a lot, for one thing, which is unhygienic and encourages eye infections.

It’s best to do everything you can to keep your eyes well-hydrated from the outset, but it’s especially important when you have a cold.  Here are a few tips…

Keep Your Eyes Moist And Happy This Cold Season

1 – Approved Eye Drops

There are few better ways to combat dry eyes than with simple eye drops, available from virtually any pharmacy or convenience store.  However, only use fluids specifically designed to be put in your eyes – anything else may carry contaminants that do more harm than good.

2 – Air Humidifiers

During the Fall and Winter, a portable air humidifier will do a lot to keep some moisture in the air within your house, which in turn helps keep your eyes well-lubricated.  They’ll dry out more quickly in places with extremely low humidity.  (This is also true for doctor’s offices, airplanes, and other areas relying on recirculated air.)

3 – Lower Your Computer \ TV Screen

Here’s one you may not have known:  When your screen is above eye level, you open your eyes wider to see it.  This, naturally, leads to eyes drying out more quickly.  Keep the screen below eye level, and your eyelids will lower over the top part of your eye.

4 – Take Breaks From Eye-Intensive Activities

Reading, video games, close-up handiwork, and any other activity that requires constant sight work will tend to dry out eyes quickly.  Taking a break every hour or so will keep your eyes dry, especially if you take a couple minutes to close them so they can re-lubricate.

5 – Stop Smoking And/Or Avoid Smokers

Cigarette smoke is terrible for the eyes, as well as most every other part of the body.  Keep your eyes away from smoke at all times.

Remember: You only get one set of eyes.  Keep them protected to preserve your sight!

Spring Allergies and Eye Health

Phoenix_OptometryWhile most of us are happy that spring has arrived in Phoenix, spring brings with it a new eye health problem for millions of people: seasonal allergies. The blooms spring bring pollen… and therefore allergies.

The cause of allergies is easy enough to understand – allergy sufferers simply have over-active immune systems. When spring pollens hit, the defense mechanisms in your eyes, nose, and throat mistake it for a threat and start working to expel the “invader.” A runny nose and watery eyes is your body’s way of flushing out the system.

Unfortunately, the process isn’t exactly fun for allergy sufferers, and even potentially carries mild threats to your eye health.

Don’t Rub Those Itchy Eyes!

While it’s tempting, you and your family should try to not rub your eyes too often when suffering from seasonal allergies. The fine particles that fill the spring air can cause microabrasions – tiny tears – on your cornea which can build up over time, contributing to cataracts and other vision problems later in life.

Further, it’s easy to mistake common eye diseases for allergies, especially if you’re expecting spring allergies anyway.  If someone has an eye disease, rubbing their eyes just makes it easier for the disease to infect others. (I think we all know how quickly a pinkeye epidemic can spread!)

Treat Allergies Early And Often

For most people, standard over-the-counter antihistamines are all that are needed to keep seasonal allergies in check. Just remember that a person’s body can and will develop a tolerance to these allergy medications. Try rotating the antihistamines you use every now and then.

Allergies don’t have to be a threat to your eye health at all, as long as you take proper care of your eyes during allergy season!

Avoiding Winter Allergies

OptometryWhen you think of allergies, the image in many people’s minds is a field of spring flowers. While this may certainly get your sneeze factory going, wintertime is equally miserable for an allergy sufferer. An optometrist treats lots of itchy red eyes in the winter due to increased time spent indoors with allergens. Here’s how you can help:

Cleaning House

During the winter when more time is spent inside, household dust can take its toll. Pet dander, dust from holiday decorations and from organizing your home to meet those resolutions all contribute to indoor pollution. For that reason, it’s important to wipe down surfaces with a damp cloth regularly to remove built-up dust. Keep kitty or canine bathed and groomed to cut down on dander. Run the vacuum often and be sure to change or clean the filters of the machine when you are finished to further reduce the pollution factor.

Air Filters

Step two in improving the air in your home and removing allergens is to replace your furnace or HVAC filters regularly, and buy a quality filter. Those inexpensive blue filters may be tempting, but the truth is that they only remove very large particles from entering the system. Invest in a higher quality filter that is designed to remove the tiniest and most microscopic of debris, and replace it on schedule. You can also talk to your optometrist about household filtration systems that may provide additional benefit.


The allure of a romantic winter fire is certainly wonderful, however it can be one of the most allergy-provoking things that you can do. Dust, ash, and carbon in the air have the potential to make your eyes and lungs burn, and send you to the optometrist for rescue. Limit exposure to fireplace and outdoor fires, or be prepared to handle the consequences.

Winter allergies are just as annoying as those in warmer months, but there are a few ways you can minimize the potential. If these methods aren’t enough, talk to your optometrist and allergist about treatments that will work for you.