Allergies and Artificial Tears (part 2)
I didn’t know, by the way, that people could be allergic to dogs. Cats are a common allergy. What’s the difference?
Allergies to cats are caused by their saliva, but with dogs it is typically on the skin. If we suspect allergic conjunctivitis, we conduct a very safe and effective 20-minute test. Thanks to a special applicator, we learn what the patient is allergic to and how to avoid certain stimuli.
So say goodbye to Fido? Picasso once got rid of his dachshund, thinking he was just a burden.
Even if Fido or Max is causing an allergic reaction, it doesn’t mean that you have to get rid of your beloved pets, but knowing why it is occurring is key.
On a side note, about drops… One of your employees mentioned that things like Visine are not ideal, “to put it mildly.” I shuddered, because I had bought some just the day before. This wasn’t because I read something good about them, but because they were the cheapest. Are the best drops the most expensive, or are there other considerations?
All drops that you buy in the store constrict conjunctival vessels, but they do not like to be in this compressed state. They love to expand. So it goes like this: the drops narrow those vessels and life is good. But within 4 hours, they expand even larger than before and the eyes are still red. You apply the drops again, and now the effect only lasts 3 hours, then 2, and then only 1.
So they work like narcotics, where you have to take more to get the same effect?
Yes. The end result is that people often come in with bloodshot eyes from constantly using namebrand drops. This is called rebound. However, sometimes redness is caused by drug allergies or from rosacea, which is a skin disease with symptoms that include reddening of the skin and the formation of sores on the face. Bill Clinton, for example, suffers from rosacea. This is often accompanied by lesions in the eye. All of this can be sorted out and controlled if your ophthalmologist is experienced and has adequate facilities.
So would you advise not to buy drops at the store?
We are often approached by people to whom it is important to have cosmetically-appealing eyes. Someone might have an important meeting and needs to come across as an upbeat person, for example, but this is hard to do with bloodshot eyes. And again, we have to determine the cause. If it is blepharitis, it needs to be treated; it is the same with allergic conjunctivitis. Store-bought drops just cover it up, rather than stopping it where it originates.
Then does it matter if they cost $6 or $26?
If you buy shoes that aren’t your size, then it isn’t important if they’re real crocodile or faux leather. I usually recommend buying artificial tears, but we must remember that drops vary in quality, much like toothpaste or shampoo. Glaucoma drops may contain preservatives, for example, so if you use them 6-8 times a day, you are irritating your eyes each of those 6-8 times. More than 3-4 times a day will negate its benefits.
Manufacturers include this information on their labels, but only microbes can read it, or those who just got laser correction.
No one advertises the side effects. There are drops without preservatives sold in disposable pipettes, but they are very expensive. We have some prescription-only drops from Germany at our office that are watery, oily, and mucin, and of course have no preservatives. One pipette is enough for an entire day. Dry eyes can be treated in different ways, as well, with vitamins, compresses, and different types of “tears”, including tears that are made from the patient’s own biological material, as well as placental contact lenses loaded with stem cells. These really rejuvenate the eyes.
Placentas?!? That’s the topic of another conversation.
Let’s talk about it separately, then.
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Text and photos: Sebastian Varo
Translation: Richard Grenwelge