Allergy season is back - are your eyes ready?

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and throats. It's allergy season again.

VSP optometrist Dr. Arian Fartash spoke 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 people can get include itchiness and watery, red, swollen eyes. Right now is the season for it. We've been getting a lot of wind too so that will contribute to these different symptoms.

Q: If your eyes are itchy, is it always allergies or could it be something more concerning?

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

Q: What if we have itchy eyes from allergies. What's the best remedy for that?

A: I love when I get a cold eye mask from the fridge or freezer, and I come home and put it on. Because it helps with the inflammation as well. You can go over the counter and get some drugs, but I would ask your local optometrist. If you're a contact lens wearer, you want to make sure you wear dailies. Or if the pollen count - and you can check online - in your area is really high wear your glasses that day.

Q: Let's dispel some common myths about allergies. Myth or fact: Flowers are a leading cause of allergies?

A: Not all the time. Because flowers are insect-pollinating. The insects will take the pollen from one plant and take it to the other one to be pollinated. So most allergies come from the pollinators that come with the wind - trees, shrubs, things like that. When it's really windy, the pollen will come from hundreds of miles away.

Q: What about saying seasonal allergies are not serious?

A: No, it could be very serious. It could affect how you sleep at night, it could give you respiratory problems. Also those symptoms with your eyes, it could give you blurry visions too.

Q: What about "yards cause allergies"?

A: I have a lot of eucalyptus trees outside and I always blamed them for my eye allergies. But again it's not the case. Because those allergies are coming from the wind hundreds of miles away. It's not just from the plant in your backyard, it's from all over Southern California that they come and affect us.

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

A: Definitely something else. It is a main culprit of allergies, but when you go to the optometrist, they'll be able to distinguish from their testing.

Q: What about eye drops?

Q: I love those. That just remoistens your eyes. Again it could be used for dry eyes or allergies. I love using preservative-free because it doesn't have the junk some of the other ones have. And they're pregnancy safe as well.
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