Do you have red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, you may be suffering from seasonal eye allergies. For some, spring is eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Spring eye allergies are caused by the release of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can cause a severe impact on everyday functioning for those that suffer from them.
What can you do to guard your eyes during allergy season? Whenever possible decrease exposure to allergens which means remaining inside, particularly when the pollen count is high. Closing windows, using air conditioners and putting on wrap-around sunglasses when going outside may also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known to remove allergens from the air inside your home or office.
However, for the majority of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, there are medications that can reduce symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. It's possible that a simple lubricating eye drop will soothe and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out irritants. Medications containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to reduce inflammation of the eyes and treat other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral solutions to treat eye problems.
About 20% of Americans are affected by allergies, nearly half of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies often run in families and are the result of 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 cause excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub irritated eyes. This will just increase the irritation. Because some of the products that work to alleviate symptoms do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, see your optometrist.