If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes you may be suffering from spring eye allergies. For many of us, March is the start of pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are caused by an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can result in a severe impact on everyday functioning for those that experience them.
What can you do to protect your eyes during pollen season? If at all feasible, try to decrease contact with pollen which means remaining inside, in particular on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows closed, using air conditioning and wearing full-coverage shades when exposed to the elements may also help to reduce exposure to allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to filter irritants from the air when you are inside.
Since most of us must go outside on occasion, there are medications that can treat symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a simple eye drop will soothe and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out allergens. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to reduce irritation of the eyes and treat non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than pills or liquid medications to treat eye problems.
Individuals that wear contact lenses sometimes find that they suffer more during eye allergy season because irritants tends to enter the eye and stick to the exterior of the lens, causing an allergic reaction. This is made worse when oral antihistamines are taken which further dry out the eyes. Contact lens wearers are advised to make sure to ensure eyes are moist and switch lenses on time. Many eye care professionals prefer the use of daily disposable contacts, because replacing your contacts daily lessens the opportunity for allergens to accumulate.
When your eyes are irritated, don’t rub them. Doing so can only exacerbate the irritation. Due to the fact that some of the effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter options are not working for you, schedule a visit with your eye doctor.
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