If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes you may be suffering from seasonal eye allergies. For many of us, spring is pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Springtime eye allergies are caused by an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that experience them.
What can you do to protect your eyes during allergy season? Whenever possible limit exposure to pollen which means staying inside, especially on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows shut, using air conditioners and wearing full-coverage sunglasses when going outside may also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used clear particles from the air when you are inside.
Nevertheless, for the majority of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, there are medicines that can reduce symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a basic over-the-counter eye drop is sufficient to moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and remove irritants. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will allay irritation of the eyes and treat other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to treat eye problems.
Contact lens wearers often experience greater discomfort from eye allergies due to the fact that allergens are more likely to accumulate on the outer surface of the lens, causing irritation. This is compounded when oral antihistamines are taken which further dry out the eyes. Contact lens wearers are advised to make sure to keep their eyes moist and replace contacts as directed. Many eye doctors recommend the use of daily disposable contacts, since replacing your contact lenses each day lowers the chances of buildup and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub irritated eyes. This will only increase the inflammation. Due to the fact that some of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter options do not help, see your optometrist.