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Home » What’s New » Protecting Your Eyes During Allergy Season

Protecting Your Eyes During Allergy Season

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to seasonal eye allergies. For some of us, March is the beginning of pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Springtime eye allergies are largely due to an influx of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can result in a severe impact on everyday functioning for those that suffer from them.

How can you protect your eyes this pollen season? Well the most obvious answer would be to limit contact with allergens which means staying inside, particularly when the pollen count is high. Keeping windows shut, using air conditioning and putting on wrap-around shades when exposed to the elements may also help to limit contact with irritants in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to cleanse allergens from the air when you are inside.

Since most of us must leave the house on occasion, certain medications can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a basic rewetting drop is sufficient to moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and remove irritants. Medications containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can reduce inflammation of the eyes and treat non-eye related symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye symptoms.

About 20% of Americans suffer from allergies, nearly 50% of which are eye allergies. Eye allergies are often genetic and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to a substance that has entered the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eye releases histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.

If you are suffering from irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. Doing so will only exacerbate the irritation. Because some of the effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter options are not working for you, book an appointment with your eye doctor.