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 is the beginning of eye allergy season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Spring eye allergies are often a result of the release of tree and flower pollen into the air and can cause a severe impact on quality of life for those that experience them.
What can you do to defend your eyes during allergy season? If at all feasible, try to reduce exposure to allergens by remaining indoors, in particular when the pollen count is high. Closing windows, cooling off with air conditioners and putting on full-coverage sunglasses when exposed to the elements may also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known clear irritants from the air when you are inside.
Since most of us have to go outside on occasion, there are medications that can reduce symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a basic lubricating eye drop is all that's needed to soothe and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and remove irritants. Medicines containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will alleviate irritation of the eyes and treat non-eye related symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Drops often work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye symptoms.
Those who wear contact lenses sometimes find that they suffer more during eye allergy season since allergens are more likely to enter the eye and build up on the exterior of the lens, triggering irritation. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, compounding the situation. Contact lens wearers should make sure to keep their eyes lubricated and switch lenses on time. Many eye doctors recommend the use of daily disposable lenses, because changing your contacts daily greatly diminishes the chances of buildup and inflammation.
If your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. Doing so can only exacerbate the irritation. Due to the fact that many of the products that work to alleviate symptoms do need a prescription, if over-the-counter medications do not help, book a visit with your optometrist.