Do you experience irritated, itchy eyes throughout the warm weather months? These symptoms, along with noticeable redness and excessive tears, may indicate that you are suffering from seasonal ocular allergies.
Sometimes our immune system causes the body to produce antibodies, in response to allergens, resulting in an unpleasant reaction. Ocular allergies occur when the delicate tissues covering the eye and eyelid react in response to otherwise harmless particles. Eye allergies are most commonly caused by exposure to pollen, which is prevalent outdoors from early spring until late fall, and symptoms include: headaches, sneezing, coughing, itchy red eyes, irritated or watery eyes, itchy and/or runny nose and throat.
To reduce your exposure to allergens:
- Wear a hat and glasses while spending time outdoors, to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes and sticking to your hair.
- Limit your outdoor adventures throughout mid-morning and early evening time periods, as this is when allergens are traveling in peak amounts.
- Be sure to use air conditioning to regulate the temperature of your indoor environments, instead of opening the windows.
- Remove your shoes before entering your home, to avoid tracking allergens in, and be sure to wash flooring with a moistened mop on a regular basis.
- Bathe nightly before bed to avoid transferring outdoor allergens from your face and hair onto your bedding, and wash your pillowcases and sheets frequently with hot water to keep them dust free.
- Use a clothes dryer to dry your laundry, instead of hanging garments outdoors, to prevent pollen and other allergens from adhering to your laundry.
- Wash any clothing that you have worn around household pets, if you are a pet allergy sufferer, and be sure to wash your hands after playing with those furry friends!
If you have been exposed to allergens, and are suffering from a reaction:
- Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes, as this will increase the irritation and potentially harm the delicate tissues on and near your eyes.
- Carefully wash your hands, face, eyelids and hair, and launder the clothing worn throughout your contact with the allergens.
- Use a nasal rinse, available at your local pharmacy, to flush out pollen and mold spores from within your nasal passages. (Be sure to carefully follow all instructions!)
- Gently apply a cool compress to the affected eye(s), such as a cold wrap or wash cloth, taking care to not apply ice directly or for more than 20 minute intervals.
- Consider using antihistamine eye drops, which are widely available without a prescription and swiftly relieve ocular allergy symptoms.
Optometrists strongly recommend that we address all eye problems with a thorough eye exam. Your eyes may be experiencing unpleasant symptoms due to numerous potential issues such as allergies, dry eye syndrome, reaction to contact lenses or infection. Managing your symptoms and finding relief starts with proper diagnosis, and your eye doctor will help by assessing any ailments and providing appropriate treatments to alleviate them.
Metro Eye now carries a wide range of products that have been clinically developed to relieve your eye allergy symptoms, and most are available without a prescription! Visit our knowledgeable staff soon, and experience brisk relief from your seasonal eye allergies!