Are you experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, you may be suffering from spring eye allergies. For many of us, spring is pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Springtime eye allergies are caused by an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can cause a severe impact on everyday functioning for those that experience them.
How can you defend your eyes during pollen season? Whenever possible limit contact with pollen which means staying indoors, in particular when the pollen count is high. Closing windows, using air conditioning and putting on wrap-around shades when exposed to the elements can also help to reduce exposure to irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used clear particles from the air when you are inside.
Since most of us must go outside on occasion, certain medications can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a simple over-the-counter lubricating eye drop will moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out allergens. Medications with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can alleviate irritation of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye symptoms.
Those who wear contacts often experience greater discomfort during eye allergy season due to the fact that allergens are more likely to build up on the outer surface of the lens, bringing about inflammation. This is compounded when oral antihistamines are taken which further dry out the eyes. Individuals who wear contacts are advised to make sure to keep their eyes moist and switch contacts as directed. Many eye doctors prefer the use of daily disposable contacts, since replacing your contact lenses daily reduces the opportunity for allergens to accumulate.
Most importantly, don't rub red, itchy. Doing so can only exacerbate the irritation. Due to the fact that often effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions do not help, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor.