Spring can be a wonderful time of the year. And with the brighter, longer days, warmer sunshine and beautiful blooming flowers often come… seasonal allergies. It’s an unfortunate part of this otherwise lovely time of year, but you don’t have to let spring allergy symptoms irritate your eyes or bring you down.
In fact, there’s a lot you can do to treat - or even prevent - red itchy eyes and other allergy symptoms you may experience. Here’s some more information, and eye care tips, to help you through it all.
Why are my eyes affected by allergies?
Also called allergic conjunctivitis or ocular allergy, eye allergy occurs when something you are allergic to irritates the delicate membrane covering the eye and the inside of the eyelid. It starts when the immune system identifies an otherwise harmless substance as an allergen. This signals your immune system to overreact and produce antibodies called Immunoglobulin (IgE), which ultimately travel to cells and release chemicals that cause itchy, watery, red, puffy or burning eyes.
Seasonal allergies are often the culprit behind eye allergies. Outdoor causes usually include pollen and mold spores, while common indoor allergens are often dust mites and pet dander.
How to treat the symptoms
When you find yourself with red itchy eyes, a burning sensation, puffiness, temporary blurriness or some combination of all of these, it can be frustrating to say the least. Here are some eye care options to consider when spring allergy symptoms rear their ugly heads:
- Immediately remove your contacts and put on your glasses.
- Consider trying gentle eye drops, like saline drops or over-the-counter allergy relief eye drops (but only for short-term use).
- If you still are experiencing problems and irritation, talk to your doctor. They may prescribe more potent medicated eye drops, oral medications (like antihistamines or decongestants), or even steroid eye drops when needed.
Prevention is the best medicine
Of course it’s good to know what to do once you’re experiencing red itchy eyes or other spring allergy symptoms, but it’s always far better to prevent these uncomfortable conditions in the first place. Here are some of the best tips we have for avoiding seasonal allergy reactions that can negatively impact your eyes:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water
- Do not rub your eyes
- Vacuum often, ideally with a asthma & allergy friendly filter
- Keep your windows closed at home and in the car during peak allergy season
Please contact us to learn more about how to prevent or treat eye allergies, or to schedule an eye exam.