Do you have red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, you may be suffering from seasonal eye allergies. For many of us, March begins eye allergy season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Springtime eye allergies are caused by an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that suffer from them.
What can you do to guard your eyes during allergy season? Whenever possible reduce contact with pollen by staying indoors, in particular on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, using air conditioners and putting on wrap-around shades when exposed to the elements can also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known to remove allergens from the air when you are inside.
However, for those of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, certain medications can reduce symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a simple over-the-counter rewetting drop is sufficient to moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of allergens. Medicines containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can reduce irritation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Drops often work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to treat eye problems.
Contact lens wearers sometimes experience greater discomfort during eye allergy season due to the fact that allergens can stick to the outer surface of the lens, bringing about an allergic reaction. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, compounding the situation. Those who wear contacts should make sure to keep their eyes lubricated and switch lenses as directed. Many optometrists prefer the use of daily disposable contacts, because changing your lenses more frequently lessens the opportunity for allergens to build up.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub red, itchy. Doing so will just worsen the inflammation. Due to the fact that often effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter medications are not working for you, schedule an appointment with your optometrist.