Dr. Jim Martin 11/21/2013

dog-hair-blowing-fan.jpgYour allergic to man’s best friend. Now what? Allergies, including eye allergies, can adversely affect your daily life. How badly they affect your life depends on the trigger. Food allergies and bug bite reactions are some of the most dangerous on the list, but perhaps the most common allergen on the books is pet dander. Over 40% of American households have a dog. While the best strategy for controlling eye allergies and other allergy-related irritations is to avoid the products and substances that trigger a reaction; avoidance is nearly impossible with dander. Why? It goes everywhere a dog owner goes. Meaning; that there are detectable levels of pet dander in every household, even homes that are supposedly pet-free.

Facing the likelihood of exposure isn't easy, but we will give you some helpful information and coping mechanisms to ensure that you survive in allergy-riddled environments, and still get to keep your best friend.

What are Causes and Symptoms of Eye Allergies from Dogs?

Before we get to the symptomatic part of the problem, let's take a closer look at the root cause.

The difficulty with pet allergies is that they aren't containable. Unlike food or other exposure-sensitive substances; complete avoidance of dog dander isn't realistically possible. The irritant is actually a protein that is in a dog's:

  • Saliva
  • Skin
  • Fur
  • Urine

The particles are fine and transfer very easily. An allergic reaction to a dog manifests with:

Pet dander does not usually cause breathing problems or send someone into anaphylactic shock, however; if you have asthma you are at a greater risk for severe or life-threatening reactions, even to allergens that are considered mild.

It turns out calling this reaction an allergy attack is an apt description of what happens internally. Certain people have a genetic predisposition or immune sensitivity to otherwise harmless substances. This sensitivity causes your body to over react when exposed to a certain substance. Your body treats the irritant as bacterium or a virus; aggressively attacking it. The symptoms you experience are your body's attempt to destroy or flush out the allergen.

How Can I Treat Eye Allergies Caused By My Dog?

People think they can avoideye allergies and other symptoms by getting animals that are marketed as "hypoallergenic." In reality, there is no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet.

Remember, what you are reacting to is actually a protein. The protein is called KNF-1. Every dog in every breed has this protein as part of their genetic makeup. The truth is some dogs have lower levels than others, but that doesn't mean you won't eventually have an allergic reaction. If you have allergies, the only way to prepare for dog ownership is to seek treatment before getting a dog.

There are several treatment options available, including:
  • Medications
  • Eye drops
  • Allergen tests
  • Resistance therapy

In order to successfully manage your symptoms without complex therapies, you should speak to an Amarillo eye care specialist. In severe cases, pet ownership may not be possible. As a last resort, patients have tried progressive limited exposure to pet dander through allergy injections.

Not all symptoms respond to broad-spectrum allergy medications. You may need to speak to an optometrist if your eye allergies persist even after you start medications. Based on an eye evaluation, your specialist can recommend the most effective treatments.

AtBroome Optical, our professional eye care team can treat your eye allergies. f you are experiencing eye allergies, whether they result from pet dander, the arid Amarillo climate or anything else, please call us at (806) 355-5633 or visit our office located at 3408 Olsen Boulevard in Amarillo, Texas.

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