Q: My eyes are feeling red and itchy. Do I have allergies?
A: Ocular allergies are very common this time of year in Central Oregon. Juniper tree pollen peaks for about 6 weeks between late-March and mid-May and can cause red, itchy, swollen eyes. Unfortunately, so can other eye conditions. It is best to be seen by an eye care professional to rule out an infection or other serious condition before starting treatment, which may include oral anti-histamine medication and topical drops that block the inflammatory pathway to provide 24 hour protection against symptoms. Over the counter allergy eye drops can be effective in mild cases, but some contain preservatives that actually worsen the symptoms. Most eye doctors can bill medical insurance for an appointment related to red, irritated eyes Ė it isnít necessary to have vision insurance.