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Eye Allergy Season is Approaching – Are You Ready?

Do you have red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, you may be suffering from pollen-induced eye allergies. For many of us, March begins eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are largely due to an influx of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that experience them.

What can you do to defend your eyes this allergy season? Whenever possible limit contact with pollen by remaining indoors, in particular when the pollen count is high. Closing windows, using air conditioners and putting on wrap-around shades when going outside can also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used filter particles from the air inside your home or office.

Nevertheless, for the majority of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, certain medications can reduce symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a simple over-the-counter eye drop is all that's needed to moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out allergens. Medicines with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to reduce inflammation of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Eye drops often work more quickly and effectively than oral medications to alleviate eye problems.

Contact lens wearers often experience greater discomfort from eye allergies since irritants can accumulate on the surface of the lens, bringing about inflammation. This is made worse when oral antihistamines are taken which have a drying effect on the eyes. Those who wear contacts should take measures to ensure eyes are lubricated and switch lenses on time. Some eye care professionals prefer the use of daily disposable lenses, because changing your contact lenses each day reduces the chances of buildup and irritation.

Most importantly, don't rub red, itchy. Doing so will just worsen the inflammation. Because some of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter medications are not working for you, book an appointment with your optometrist.