Spring is finally here! Who doesn’t love spring? The temperatures are generally perfect—not too hot and not too cold. You hear the birds chirp and flowers bloom, and it is a very pleasant feeling to be able to go outside after being cooped up in our homes during the winter.
While many people enjoy spring, there are others who have severe eye allergies that make being outside unpleasant. Those people suffer from red, watery, itchy eyes that cause them to have a runny nose and sneeze often. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 50 million people in the United States have seasonal allergies, affecting up to 30 percent of adults and up to 40 percent of children.
The most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergies are pollen, mold and dust. Sometimes eye allergies are caused by reactions to certain cosmetics. Food allergies and allergic reactions to bee stings or other insect bites don’t usually affect the eyes, however.
So what can you do to get some eye-allergy relief? Check how high the pollen count is. If it’s high, try to stay indoors and run the air conditioner to filter the air. If you do need to go outside, wear wraparound sunglasses to help protect your eyes from pollen, ragweed, etc., and drive with your windows closed. If you wear contact lenses, consider wearing glasses during allergy season so that allergens don’t get stuck on your lenses, or ask your doctor about getting fitted with daily disposable contact lenses. If these home remedies don’t work, you should get a prescription for eye drops or oral medication such as antihistamines and decongestants.
Feel free to make an appointment with me to select the best treatments to keep your eyes comfortable during the upcoming allergy season!
By Maty Youngewirth, OD
Maty Youngewirth is an optometrist with Vision Plus.