Although many correlate seasonal allergies with the arrival of spring, a large number of individuals suffer during the fall as well. In addition to sneezing and a stuffy or runny nose, symptoms that affect the eyes can be the greatest causes of discomfort.
When suffering from allergies, the eyes can become itchy, swollen, and irritated and often sting or tear. Vision can often be affected as well by blurriness or sensitivity to light. These symptoms can be so debilitating for those affected that they prohibit an individual's ability to perform in all aspects of everyday life – from work to play.
When an individual with allergies comes into contact with an allergen he or she has a sensitivity to, the immune response is to release histamines to defend against the ''intruder''. This hypersensitive immune response results in the symptoms we all know such as sneezing, couching and congestion as well as those related to the eyes.
For contact lens wearers eye allergies are frequently exacerbated because contact lenses can often attract pollen. Further, we tend to rub itchy eyes, which can cause even more discomfort for lens wearers. Lens wearers experiencing eye allergies often find themselves using wetting drops frequently or even limiting the use of their contacts or switching to eyeglasses. If you wear contacts and experience eye allergies, it could help you to try switching brands, particularly to single use, daily disposables which minimize the likelihood of pollen accumulation. You don't have to suffer from your contacts!
For anyone suffering here are some ways to reduce exposure and symptoms of autumn eye allergies:
- Avoid outdoor activities during midday and early evening when the pollen count is highest.
- Wear big sunglasses to help block allergens from entering your eyes.
- Use a clothes dryer rather than hanging clothing out to dry whenever possible.
- Clean floors with a damp mop rather than sweeping which can often stir up rather than clean away allergens.
- Use chilled artificial tears or use cool compresses for extra soothing.
- Clean areas prone to mold frequently with a bleach solution.
If over the counter medications are not helping a prescription medication may be more effective. In this case, make a visit to your eye care professional now to talk about your options and begin proper treatment. Our Lexington, KY optometry office is here to assist your eyes feel their best despite allergy season!