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Seasonal Allergies And Your Eyes

Spring is in the air…and that means so are allergies.

Seasonal allergies affect millions of people every year, and they can be particularly hard on our eyes, leaving them red, itchy, and watery. Why does this happen and what can we do about it?

Why Do We Get Seasonal Allergies?

While there are plenty of allergens that can make our eyes water year round, such as dust and pet dander, seasonal allergies typically flare up twice a year: in the spring and the fall. This can mean long months of congestion, an itchy nose, mouth, eyes, or throat, puffy eyes, sneezing, and coughing for people with allergies.

The reason our allergies act up the most during spring and fall is that trees and grass pollinate throughout the spring, while ragweed pollinates in the fall. Mold will also send out spores around the same time. Allergic reactions, including seasonal allergies, are the result of our immune systems overreacting to these allergens. Unfortunately, much of this overreaction takes place right on the surface of our eyes.

Allergies Versus Our Eyes

Depending on how your body reacts to allergens, you could experience a wide variety of eye-related symptoms during allergy seasons. The most common are the aforementioned itchiness, redness, and watery discharge. These could be accompanied by a burning sensation, contact lens discomfort, swollen eyelids, and a scratchy or gritty feeling. You could also experience adverse side-effects from decongestants, which might dry out your eyes as well as your sinuses, making them even more vulnerable to airborne allergens.

Allergy Prevention And Treatment

Because many allergens are airborne, avoiding allergic reactions can be difficult, but there are a few things you can do to minimize your exposure. It’s best to stay indoors on extra windy days when the most allergens are in the air. You should also wear a pollen mask while doing yard work, and avoid using window fans that could blow pollen and spores into your house. Sunglasses (or regular glasses) can shield your eyes from pollen.

If you do end up having an allergy attack, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and use eye drops if your eyes are irritated, especially if your allergy medications are drying out your eyes. You might want to swap out your contacts for glasses until you feel better, because contact lenses can make your eyes more vulnerable. And try not to rub your eyes very often, because doing so will only irritate them more!

Fighting Back Against Allergies Together!

If you’re experiencing significant eye irritation, whether as an effect of seasonal allergies or for any other reason, don’t hesitate to come see us! Keeping your eyes healthy is our top priority, and together we can come up with the best plan to beat those allergies.

Thank you for putting your trust in our practice!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
Coronavirus Update

The CDC announced on March 17th that Healthcare facilities and clinicians should prioritize urgent and emergency visits and procedures now and for the coming several weeks. The Family Eye Clinic's priority is to support the health and safety of the public and will continue to assess the situation and update you accordingly. Because of this the Family Eye Clinic will remain closed until April 30th. A staff member will call you once we reopen to reschedule your appointment.

Should you have Contacts Lenses or Glasses in our office to pickup, we are developing a safe delivery method for you to receive them. We ask for your patience while this policy is being developed.

If you are a contact lens wearer, click on the following link for ways to stay safe during this epidemic: Coronavirus