At the end of the summer, many people start to experience symptoms of ragweed allergy or hay fever. In addition to sneezing and a stuffy or runny nose, symptoms that affect the eyes can cause a significant amount of discomfort.
When suffering from allergies, the eyes can become itchy, puffy, and irritated and often sting or tear. Vision can often be affected as well by blurriness or light sensitivity. These effects can make it so uncomfortable for allergy sufferers that they interfere with work, school, sports and leisure activities.
When an individual with allergies comes into contact with a substance he or she is sensitive to, the immune response is to send out histamines to combat the ''invader''. This hypersensitive immune response results in typical allergic symptoms which include general symptoms as well as eye related symptoms.
For contacts wearers symptoms can often be worse because lenses can often attract pollen. Additionally, when our eyes are itchy, we usually rub them which can cause even more discomfort for those wearing contacts. Use of rewetting drops can sometimes reduce discomfort but many contact wearers choose to reduce the use of their lenses. If you wear contacts and experience ocular allergies, it could help you to try a different brand of contacts, particularly if you aren't using daily disposables which reduce the likelihood of allergen accumulation. You don't have to suffer from your contacts - visit our Duvall, WA optometry practice to discuss your options.
For anyone suffering here are a few ways to minimize autumn ocular allergy discomfort:
- Check the local pollen count and stay indoors when counts are high, particularly at peak times such as midday.
- Close windows as much as possible, especially when driving.
- Keep pets inside when possible and bathe frequently as they can transport pollen into the house.
- Clean floors with a damp mop instead of sweeping which can often stir up rather than get rid of allergens.
- Try not to rub your eyes. Use a cool compress for soothing irritation or itchiness.
- 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. If this is the case, make a visit to your eye care professional as soon as possible to discuss your options and begin effective treatment. Our Duvall, WA optometry office would be happy to help you in regaining your comfort this fall!