As the end of summer approaches, many people start to experience symptoms of seasonal eye allergies such as hay fever. Above nasal symptoms such as sneezing and congestion, symptoms that affect the eyes can cause a great level of discomfort.
Symptoms of eye allergies include tearing, itchiness, swelling and stinging. Vision can often be affected as well by blurriness or light sensitivity. These effects can be so debilitating for those affected that they interfere with work, school, sports and leisure activities.
When an individual with allergies comes into contact with an allergen he has a sensitivity to, the immune response is to release histamines to combat the ''invader''. This hypersensitive immune response results in typical allergic symptoms which include general symptoms as well as those related to the eyes.
For contacts users symptoms are often exacerbated since contacts can often attract pollen. In addition, we tend to rub itchy eyes, which can cause even more irritation for those wearing contact lenses. Contact lens users experiencing seasonal allergies often find themselves using wetting drops more frequently or even limiting the use of their lenses or switching to eyeglasses. If you wear contacts and experience seasonal allergies, you may want to consider switching brands, particularly to single use, daily disposables which reduce the likelihood of pollen accumulation. If you are experiencing discomfort from your contacts, schedule an appointment at our Hamburg, MI optometry practice to talk to a professional about your options.
Regardless of whether you wear contacts or not, here are some ways to minimize autumn eye allergy discomfort:
- Check the area pollen count and stay indoors when counts are high, particularly at peak times such as midday.
- Keep windows closed when possible, especially when driving.
- Keep pets indoors when possible and bathe often as they can transport pollen into the house.
- Rather than sweeping, clean floors with a damp mop, which is more effective at getting rid of allergens.
- Use chilled artificial tears or use cold compresses for extra soothing.
- Shower at night to remove any allergens 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 what you need. In this case, make an appointment with your optometrist as soon as possible to talk about your options and begin effective treatment. Our Hamburg, MI optometry practice is here to help your eyes feel their best despite allergy season!