Are you experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some of us, March begins eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are caused by an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that experience them.
What can you do to guard your eyes during pollen season? If at all feasible, try to limit exposure to allergens by staying inside, especially on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows shut, using air conditioners and putting on wrap-around sunglasses when going outside can also help to reduce contact with allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to remove irritants from the air inside your home or office.
Nevertheless, for those of us that must go outside, there are medications that can treat symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. It's possible that a simple eye drop will moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out allergens. Medications with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can allay redness and swelling of the eyes and treat other symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral solutions to alleviate eye symptoms.
Those who wear contact lenses often have worse symptoms from eye allergies since irritants are more likely to enter the eye and stick to the exterior of the lens, causing inflammation. This is made worse when oral antihistamines are taken which have a drying effect on the eyes. Contact lens wearers are advised to take steps to ensure eyes are lubricated and replace lenses on time. Many eye care professionals recommend the use of daily disposable contacts, since replacing your lenses more frequently lessens the opportunity for allergens to accumulate.
When you are experiencing irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. Doing so can only increase the inflammation. Because many of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions do not help, see your optometrist.