Spring is a wonderful time of year, with warmer weather and extended daylight making it even more enjoyable to spend more time outdoors. But as flowers bloom, increased pollen counts may also increase your allergy irritation. About 40% of the population experiences an eye allergy, otherwise known as allergic conjunctivitis. Here are some ways to help you handle this possible discomfort this coming spring!
How Do Allergies Impact Eye Health?
Allergic reactions occur when your immune system reacts as though threatened by a harmful substance. For those with eye allergies, even innocent particles such as dust and pollen can trigger your immune system to create antibodies which lead to itchiness and redness. Other symptoms of eye allergies can include:
- Burning sensation
- Watery eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- A gritty feeling in your eyes
Symptoms common with other allergies, including sneezing, coughing, and headaches may also come with eye allergies. While there is no concrete cure for allergies, there are ways to protect yourself.
Don’t Touch Your Eyes
Touching your eyes is often a subconscious habit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we were all advised not to touch our faces to avoid contracting the virus. And this is still an important practice to keep up as spring comes along.
When you rub your eyes, more chemicals that cause itching are released. While itchy eyes may trigger the instinct to rub them, doing so will only worsen the discomfort. You can also stay hands-free from your eyes by avoiding contacts for a time or staying clear of any eye makeup.
Avoid Exposure When Possible
Pollen from grass and trees are key contributors to eye allergies. The most effective way to avoid this discomfort is to stay indoors when there is a high pollen count. Also make sure that your windows are closed if you’re inside your home or in your car. If the great outdoors are too irresistible, sunglasses and eyeglasses are the next best way to protect your eyes from pollen irritants. A hat can also keep pollen from your scalp and face.
Use Eye Drops
Over-the-counter solutions such as chilled artificial tears or lubricating eye drops can help soothe and ease the itchiness.
Anti-allergy eye drops or oral medications containing antihistamines or mast cell stabilizers may also minimize symptoms. These products are found over the counter, but can also be prescribed. Consultation with your eye doctor can help you find the right fit for your needs.
Keep Everything Clean
Make some preventative actions a part of your springtime routine, such as changing up a few hygiene habits. After a long day outside, for example, wash your face and hands right away to avoid any lingering allergens. Showering before bed and frequently washing pillowcases and sheets will also help you sleep well.
Remember that your clothes may still hold allergens that cause itchiness, so wash them more regularly than you otherwise might. If you wear contacts, keeping them clean — and changing your contact solution every day — is key, as well.
If you are still experiencing allergic discomfort, the experts at Eye Consultants of Atlanta can help you find the best treatment for relief. Schedule an appointment with us online ahead of allergy season, or call us at (404) 351-2220.