‘Tis the season for many allergy sufferers, and if your eyes are itchy and red but you don’t feel like you have a cold, you too may be afflicted with seasonal allergies. While allergic reactions in the eye can happen all year round, many people are particularly affected in spring, summer, or fall when pollen from trees, flowers, weeds and grass are at high levels. The most common eye symptoms are swelling, redness, tearing, and the most telltale sign: itching. However, you don’t need to suffer in silence – there are things you can do for your eyes to make seasonal allergies a bit more bearable.
It’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your optometrist to make sure the cause of your symptoms is indeed allergies. If you do have allergies, your eye doctor can provide specific recommendations for you. For example, if you wear contact lenses, changing to a daily replacement contact lens may help. Using a daily disposable contact lens can reduce allergens like dust and pollen from building up on your contact lenses – and in your eyes. Please call one of our offices if you are interested in a possible refit of your contacts and to determine whether a disposable option is right for you.
There are at-home treatments which can help to alleviate your allergic symptoms, including:
Oral anti-histamines can help to relieve eye symptoms so you may consider using these under the direction of your primary care provider. Many allergy sufferers also use nasal decongestants which work by drying up the mucous membranes in your nasal passages to relieve nasal swelling and congestion. Nasal decongestants also dry up the mucous membranes in your eyes, however, and both they and oral anti-histamines can contribute to dry eyes. You may benefit from using lubricating artificial tear drops 4-6 times per day to help alleviate some of the dryness caused by these allergy medications.
If you are unsure what you are allergic to or need more advanced treatment to manage your symptoms, consult an allergist. Finally, if you cannot alleviate your eye symptoms with the treatments above or are unsure if your symptoms are from allergies, see your eye doctor for help.