Spring time is eye allergy time
Whilst for most, Spring is a welcome relief after the biting cold winter month, it is less enjoyable for those who suffer from hayfever. For those, it is the peak time for sneezing, running nose and itchy, watery eyes.
While there is usually no serious risk to your eyesight, seasonal allergic conjunctivitis can cause eyes to water, be itchy, light-sensitive, red, swollen, and can cause temporary blurriness.
Seasonal eye allergies are caused by an overreaction by the immune system to something normally harmless that comes in contact with the mucus membranes of the eyelids. Allergens can cause your eyes to release histamines that create eye discomfort.
Here are some tips to help;
- Stay indoors in the mid-morning and early evening when pollen counts are highest.
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors to provide some shielding.
- Don’t rub your eyes, it can make your symptoms worse. Try a cool compress when irritated.
- Use ocular lubricants. Those who suffer from dry eyes fare worse, due to lack of tears to flush away and dilute the antigens.
- Vacuum often and use a HEPA filter to prevent allergens from building up in your house.
- Keep windows closed at night and car windows closed as you’re driving.
- Avoid decongestant eye drops that curb eye redness by constricting the eye’s blood vessels. They can often make the problem worse with overuse.
- For contact lens wearers, ask your eye doctor if a switch to daily disposable contact lenses. Daily disposables help prevent allergens from building up on the surface of the lens.
- Ask your optometrist about prescription eye drops that combine antihistamine-mast cell stabilisers and corticosteroids. If you know you suffer from seasonal allergic conjunctivitis every year, it may be helpful to use an antihistamine-mast cell stabaliser a few weeks before Spring and throughout the high pollen season.