Toward the end of the summer, many people start to experience symptoms of ragweed allergy or hay fever. In addition to sneezing and congestion, ocular allergies are often a significant cause of discomfort.
Eyes can become itchy, puffy, and irritated and often sting or tear. Vision can often be affected as well by blurriness or sensitivity to light. These effects can be so debilitating for allergy sufferers that they interfere with all aspects of everyday life – from work to play.
When an individual with allergies is exposed to an allergen he or she is sensitive to, the immune response is to send out histamines to defend against the ''intruder''. This reaction by the hypersensitive immune system results in the symptoms we all know such as sneezing, couching and congestion as well as eye related symptoms.
If you wear contacts, eye allergies can sometimes be exacerbated because lenses can often attract allergens. Additionally, when our eyes itch, our first reaction is usually to rub them which can cause even more discomfort for those wearing contacts. Use of rewetting drops can sometimes alleviate symptoms but many lens wearers decide to limit the use of their lenses. If you wear contacts and experience seasonal allergies, it could help you to try a different brand of contacts, particularly if you aren't using daily disposables which minimize the likelihood of pollen accumulation. You don't have to suffer from your contacts – visit our North Vancouver, BC eye care practice to discuss your condition.
Whether you wear contacts or not, here are a few ways to reduce fall ocular allergy symptoms:
- Check the area pollen count and remain indoors when counts are high, particularly at peak times such as midday.
- Close windows when possible, especially when driving.
- Use a clothes dryer rather than hanging clothing out to dry whenever possible.
- Instead of sweeping, use a damp mop to clean floors, which is more effective at cleaning away allergens.
- Try not to rub your eyes. Use a cool compress for soothing irritation or itchiness.
- Take a shower at night to remove any pollen you may have collected throughout the day.
While over the counter medications and eye drops can sometimes help relieve symptoms, a prescription medication may be more effective. In this case, make a visit to your eye doctor as soon as possible to talk about your options and begin proper treatment. Our North Vancouver, BC eye care office is here to help your eyes feel their best despite allergy season!