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Ophthalmology & Optometry/Secondhand smoke eye irritation


I just moved into the second floor apartment of a duplex in an old building, and I found out that my downstairs neighbors are indoors packs-a-day smokers and, unfortunately, I can always smell when they’re smoking because it’s a drafty, old house. For the past week that I’ve been there, I’ve woken up with red, irritated, tired eyes, dry-yet-congested sinuses, and a scratchy, raw upper throat. I also just feel overall run-down and tired everyday. I’m assuming this must be because of the smoke fumes, but it’s driving me crazy. Is there any meds/or tricks to alleviate whatever the heck is going on in my body/eyes? I took my inhaler, used Zaditor eye drops after I took out my contacts, and popped an Allegra before bed, but nothing changed how I felt this morning or even later today. HELP! I feel my eyes burning and drooping constantly and it makes me feel terrible. And I can’t move away for another few months!


It certainly sounds like you're having an allergic reaction to something. It could be smoke, but it could be something in/on the walls, dust, carpets, air ducts, etc.
I would go talk to your eye doctor about starting you on a long-lasting antihistamine and mast-cell stabilizer (Bepreve drops morning and night would be a good example), and a steroid eye drop (alrex 2-4 times a day, typically).  I would also start a patient like yourself on daily claritin and singulair.  A nasal inhaled steroid (nasacort, flonase) before bed would also help.
These are all temporary fixes, though, as the root of the problem is still there.
I would suggest making an appointment with an allergist for testing and other treatment options so you don't have to medicate as heavily.  Another option, should this continue for a long time, would be to consider relocating.
I'm sorry for your situation, it sounds terrible. Good luck getting it worked out!

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John M. Dovie, OD, FAAO


As a residency-trained Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry I am able to answer most questions regarding eye and vision health. Anything is welcome, ranging from dry or allergy eyes, bifocal contact lenses, or thoughts on LASIK surgery. As I am not a surgeon, detail-oriented surgical-related questions may be better answered by an ophthalmologist.


Selected to participate in the PCO residency program in Philadelphia at The Eye Institute, where I worked OD and MD specialists gaining invaluable experience in various clinics including glaucoma, cornea and cataract, oculo-plastics, retinal disease, neuro-ophthalmic disease, primary care, emergency medicine, and special populations. Have practiced and trained in numerous settings including hospital, academic, retail and private practice. I earned my Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). There are currently only about 3000 active fellows worldwide, and there are only about 70 Fellows in the state of Virginia. I currently own and operate my own optometric practice/clinic.

American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association (Contact Lens/Cornea Section member since 2001), Southwest Virginia Optometric Association, Virginia Tech Alumni Association

“Nyctalopia as the Presenting Sign of Vitamin A Deficiency: A Late Complication of Gastric Bypass Surgery.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Denver, Colorado, December 2006, co-authored with Bradley Lane, OD.
“The Importance of Considering Paranasal Sinus Mucocele as a Differential Diagnosis in Diplopia.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry San Diego, California, December 2005, co-authored with Kelly Malloy, OD, FAAO and Cherie Farkash, OD.
“Acute Onset of Halos and Glare: Bilateral Keratitis—An Atypical Presentation of Amiodarone Keratopathy.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Tampa, Florida December 2004. Also Presented to New Jersey Academy of Optometry, Neptune, New Jersey March 2005.
“The Opportunity for an Optometrist to Save a Life.” Clinical Case Study and Grand Rounds Presentation presented at The Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 2004.
“Corneal whorls cause wonder.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 10/15/2006.
“Acute onset of halos and glare: bilateral corneal epithelial edema with cystic eruptions--atypical presentation of amiodarone keratopathy.” Co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO. Published February, 2006, Optometry.
“Pondering the posterior polka-dots.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 5/15/2005.
Professional Involvement:
“AION: Amiodarone-Induced or Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy?” Participated as a peer-review referee for Expert Review of Ophthalmology (London, UK); refereed 10/2006.

Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, Virginia Tech. Bachelor of Science, Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Doctorate (OD), Pennsylvania College of Optometry Residency, Pennsylvania College of Optometry Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry

Awards and Honors
Winner, First Place, "Best Beside Manner" by Our Health Magazine: 2012, 2013, 2014 Winner, First Place, "Best Eye Doctor" by The Roanoke Times: 2013, 2014 Recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, December, 2006 Recipient of the Onofrey G. Rybachok Memorial Scholarship, 2000-2001 Member: The Golden Key International Honor Society Member: The National Biological Honor Society Member: The National Honor Society Eagle Scout awarded 1994

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