The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, you’re spending more time outside and…your eyes are suddenly red, watery and horribly itchy!
If this sounds familiar, you already know you suffer from allergies. When warmer temperatures grace us with their presence, they bring along their aggravating sidekick: pollen.
Eye allergies, also called “allergic conjunctivitis,” are a reaction to allergens that get in the eyes and cause inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner eyelid.
For some of us, allergies have a severe impact on everyday functioning. Fortunately, there are some simple steps we can take to reduce the impact of allergens this pollen season.
1. Stay inside as much as possible when pollen counts are high and keep all windows and doors shut.
2. If you do go outside, consider taking over-the-counter allergy medicine to reduce eye inflammation or using basic rewetting drops to alleviate the irritation caused by dryness.
3. Ask someone else to cut your grass when possible.
4. When you go outdoors, wear wrap-around sunglasses to block pollen.
5. Keep your car windows closed.
6. Consider purchasing a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter to remove allergens from the air indoors.
7. Don’t rub your eyes. We know it’s hard, but rubbing irritated eyes will make the irritation worse
8. If you wear contact lenses, try to wear your glasses more often. (This may also be an excellent time to consider LASIK). Allergens adhere to contact lenses, often making symptoms worse.
If these methods still aren’t providing relief, book an appointment with your optometrist. An optometrist can help you rule out possible problems that may not be allergy related and can recommend medical products for your particular symptoms, so you can get out and enjoy the season.