Do you have red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, you may be suffering from pollen-induced eye allergies. For many of us, spring is eye allergy season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Springtime eye allergies are often a result of an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can result in a severe impact on quality of life for those that suffer from them.
What can you do to defend your eyes during allergy season? If at all feasible, try to limit contact with allergens by remaining indoors, particularly on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows shut, cooling off with air conditioners and wearing full-coverage sunglasses when exposed to the elements may also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used remove particles from the air inside your home or office.
Nevertheless, for the majority of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, there are medicines that can alleviate symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a simple over-the-counter rewetting drop will moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and remove allergens. Medications containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will alleviate redness and swelling of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral medications to alleviate eye symptoms.
Approximately 20% of Americans suffer from allergies, almost 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies often run in families and result from an over-sensitivity to a particle that has entered the eye regardless of whether it is harmful. The eye releases histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub red, itchy eyes. This can just worsen the inflammation. Since often products that work to alleviate symptoms do need a prescription, if over-the-counter options do not help, book a visit with your eye doctor.