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Eye Allergies Q&A with Dr. Viker

Green-eyed girl looking through flowers

Q: What are the common symptoms of allergies?

Dr. Viker: The most common symptoms of allergies are red, watery itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and sneezing.

Q: How do allergies affect the eyes?

Dr. Viker: Allergies cause the eyes to become red and irritated. Oftentimes, patients report that their eyes water during allergy season, become itchy and can sometimes appear swollen.

Q: What is meant by the term allergic conjunctivitis? Is that the same as “pink eye?”

Dr. Viker: Allergic conjunctivitis is the technical term for eye allergies. The conjunctiva is the smooth clear covering over the whites of our eyes. When the eye is exposed to an allergen, like pollen or dust, the conjunctiva becomes inflamed and irritated. Part of this irritation makes the eye look red or pink so allergic conjunctivitis is sometimes referred to as “pink eye.” This should not be confused with a bacterial or viral infection of the eyes which can be quite serious and/or contagious. This is why seeing your eye doctor promptly for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan is so important.

Q: What is the difference between seasonal and perennial allergies? How would I know the difference?

Dr. Viker: The difference is how long the allergy period lasts. Seasonal allergies are generally experienced in the spring and fall. Seasonal allergies are due to a specific type of allergen being in the outdoors, for example, many people are allergic to ragweed which occurs from mid-August until the first hard frost in Minnesota. Perennial allergies happen any time of the year, for example, an allergy to pet dander.

Q: Can allergies do permanent damage to my eyes?

Dr. Viker: Not typically. In rare cases where patients rub their eyes vigorously over a long period of time, the stress to the cornea can lead to a disease that causes the cornea to thin and take on an irregular shape, called keratoconus.

Q: What are the treatment options available for this condition?

Dr. Viker: Eye allergies are most commonly treated with prescription or over the counter eye drops. Modifying a person’s environment to minimize exposure to the allergen is also beneficial in reducing or alleviating allergy symptoms. For patients that wear contact lenses, wearing daily disposable lenses can help make wearing contact lenses during allergy season more comfortable.

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To our valued patients,

At The Eye Doctors, Inc. the health and well-being of our patients is at the core of everything that we do. In light of the rapidly changing situation and the spread of COVID-19 we made the difficult decision to close the clinic on Tuesday, March 17 th.

At this time, the Wal-Mart Vision Center remains open limited hours for urgent glasses repairs, pick-ups of existing orders and new contact lens orders. The vision center is open every day from 10 AM to 2 PM and on Tuesdays from 6 AM to 2 PM, with the hour of 6 AM to 7 AM reserved for senior citizens. New orders of contact lenses can be placed in-store or over the phone at 952-829-9024 and will be shipped directly to your home.  Additionally, you may order contact lenses at

If you are experiencing an eye emergency, please call 952-955-4427 to leave a message for one of the doctors. Messages will be checked Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will re-open when it is safe to do so. We look forward to seeing you when things improve and thank you for your continued support of our practice. Please continue to our website for further information.

Dr. Melissa Viker & Dr. Britt Gustafson

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The Eye Doctors, Inc. COVID-19 Information:

Our clinic closed on March 17th and will remain closed until it is safe to re-open.  Please watch our website and Facebook page for updates.

Urgent or Emergent Eye Concerns

If you have an eye emergency, we are here to help.  Please call 952-955-4427 and one of the doctors will return your call.  The messages are monitored Monday through Saturday between 9 AM and 5 PM.  Eye emergencies include (but are not limited to): eye pain, a recent onset of redness in one or both eyes, flashes of light or sudden onset of new floaters, double vision, and sudden change/worsening of vision in one or both eyes.

Glasses and Contact Lens Orders:

The Wal-Mart Vision Center is open daily at this time from 10 AM to 2 PM and 6 AM to 2 PM on Tuesdays for limited services. The hour of 6 AM to 7 AM on Tuesdays is reserved for senior citizens.  One optician is on duty to provide urgent glasses repairs and adjustments; at this time no new orders for glasses are being accepted. Existing orders of contact lenses and glasses may be picked up from the vision center.  New orders of contact lenses can be placed in store and will be shipped to your home if we do not have the lenses in stock. Additionally, you may order contact lenses at

Contact Lens Safety

There is no evidence that contact lens wearers are at greater risk for a Corona Virus infection, per the American Optometric Association Cornea and Contact Lens Section.  Please follow the below tips:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses
  • Avoid using contact lenses if you are ill with any cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Reduce your risk for infection by avoiding sleeping, napping, swimming or showering in contact lenses
  • Replace your contact lens case every 2 months
  • Use fresh contact lens solution each time you store your lenses
  • Do not reuse single-use/daily disposable lenses