Spring has arrived! This can be a wonderful time of year: warmer weather, flowers in bloom, and more hours of sunshine. Unfortunately, for many people spring time only means one thing: allergies! Allergies can make us miserable with all the sneezing, runny noses, and of course those annoying, red, itchy, watery eyes! Allergies occur as a reaction from our immune system. The immune system mistakes substances that would normally be harmless as something harmful that it needs to defend the body from. When the body recognizes allergens, it starts a chain reaction, releasing histamine and other components that cause our annoying symptoms.
If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms in your eyes, fortunately there are ways to prevent or treat them. If you have pollen allergies, try to avoid being outside on days with high pollen count. You can also wear sunglasses that wrap around the face to reduce exposure to pollen in the air. Using an air purifier indoors can help filter out allergens that might be inside. Contact lens wear can also become more difficult as allergens can build up on the lenses, keeping the eyes continuously exposed to irritating substances. Contact lens wear might need to be reduced to a few hours a day. Your eye doctor can also recommend switching to a daily disposable contact lens that helps limit allergen build-up on the contacts.
Medicines are often needed for the best relief. There are many over-the-counter oral allergy medicines as well as allergy eye drops that help relieve symptoms. Oral allergy medicines often have dryness as a side effect, so it may be necessary to use artificial tears when using these medicines to help the eyes from becoming dry or uncomfortable. If you are having severe symptoms, be sure to see your eye doctor so they can make appropriate recommendations of which eye drops or other medicines will work best for you. They can guide you to help improve your symptoms, so spring can still be enjoyable for you even if you have seasonal eye allergies.