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May 2015

If you wear makeup or lotion on your face and have allergies, sensitive eyes or sensitive skin, it’s easy to gauge the time of day by how badly your eyes are stinging. Over the course of the day, our cosmetics tend to run and make their way into our eyes.

Have you thought about what’s in those products?

With all of the attention given to the contents of what we eat and to the products we use to clean our homes, it is curious that many of us don’t consider the importance of the ingredients when choosing our makeup and/or lotion. Yes, it is very easy to get caught up in the designer name, color or pretty packaging, but you really should be taking out your trusty list of ingredients to avoid – and sticking to it no matter how tempting it is to stray. Just like any other products, you need to read through the fine print and make sure that you won’t be using something that is harmful or irritating to your eyes.

If you find that you are experiencing a reaction, discontinue use. If symptoms persist, call our office to schedule an appointment at 732-774-5566.

Try to Avoid These Ingredients:

Aluminum – May be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Coal tar colors – All FD&C and D&C colors are made from coal tar, and most have been shown to cause cancer.

Parabens – Synthetic preservatives found to mimic estrogen and can be stored in body fat.

Propylene glycol / Propanediol – An ingredient in antifreeze and brake fluid; it is also a widely-used, moisture-carrying ingredient in cosmetics.

Phthalates – Long-term exposure may damage kidneys and liver and may cause birth defects.

Talc – This powder has been shown to cause cancer in animals.

BHA & BHT Preservatives – The oxidative characteristics and/or metabolites of BHA and BHT may contribute to carcinogenicity or tumorigenicity.

Kohl – Contains lead and is often linked to adverse effects in humans.

In addition to keeping these ingredients in mind, it is always helpful to consider natural and/or organic makeup lines. The USDA Organic Seal or being a member of the Natural Products Association is also another way to be sure the products contain healthy ingredients.

Remember, even though foundation (cream or powder) and lotion are not placed directly on your eyes, that doesn’t mean that they won’t – at some point – make their way over to that area and cause irritation.

– Content of ingredients to Avoid taken from ewg.org and adapted in part from Drop-Dead Gorgeous by Kim Erickson (Contemporary Books, 2002)

Spring is finally here! Yes, the buds on the trees are bursting with beauty and fragrance, the bright daffodils are opening up, and patches of color are evident as you drive around town. Like most, the mild weather moves you to open up your windows to let the fresh air in, and maybe even attempt spring cleaning or that landscaping project you had been putting off. But with the renewal of life brought by spring comes another inevitable side effect of the season: allergies.

Airborne allergens such as house dust, animal dander, and mold can cause ocular allergies at any time of the year- but when spring rolls around plant pollen seems to be everywhere, constantly bombarding the eyes and causing everyone to experience allergic reactions.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or hay fever, is the most common allergic eye problem.

Take preventative measures: make every effort to avoid allergens. An allergist can help determine what you are allergic to so you can stay away. Completely avoiding outdoor pollen may be impossible, but remaining indoors in the morning when the pollen levels are highest may help control symptoms. If you are allergic to house dust, open windows and keep household filters clean.

What You Can Do To Alleviate Your Discomfort:

Cool compresses decrease swelling and itching.

Artificial tears dilute the allergens and form a protective barrier over the surface of the eye.

• Various antihistamine and decongestant drops and sprays can soothe irritated eyes and nose.

• Rubbing the eyes makes symptoms worse and should be avoided.

If seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is a problem, make an appointment with one of our doctors – we will ensure symptoms are not being caused by a more serious problem before prescribing one of the many new, safe, and effective anti-allergy drops.

Thanks to all the residents of Seabrook who attended Dr. Senft’s seminar: Senior Eye Health.

Dr. Senft discussed topics ranging from macular degeneration to glaucoma to laser custom cataract surgery. All of the insightful questions brought up at the end of the discussion really added to the dynamic dialogue. One major takeaway is that, as we age, we all need to be educated and take an active role in our eye health to make certain that we receive the proper screening, diagnosis and treatment options.