If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to spring eye allergies. For many, spring is eye allergy season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Springtime eye allergies are largely due to an influx of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that experience them.
What can you do to defend your eyes this pollen season? Whenever possible decrease exposure to allergens which means staying indoors, especially when the pollen count is high. Closing windows, cooling off with air conditioning and wearing wrap-around sunglasses when exposed to the elements may also help to reduce exposure to irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to remove allergens from the air when you are inside.
Nevertheless, for the majority of us that must go outside, certain medications can alleviate symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a simple eye drop is enough to moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of allergens. Medicines with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will alleviate inflammation of the eyes and treat other symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to treat eye symptoms.
Contact lens wearers sometimes experience greater discomfort as a result of eye allergy season due to the fact that irritants tends to enter the eye and stick to the exterior of the lens, triggering an allergic reaction. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, compounding the situation. Contact lens wearers are advised to take measures to keep their eyes lubricated and replace lenses on time. Many optometrists recommend switching to daily disposable contacts, since replacing your contacts each day greatly diminishes the chances of buildup and irritation.
When you are experiencing red, itchy eyes, don't rub them. This will only exacerbate the irritation. Since some of the effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter medications do not help, schedule an appointment with your optometrist.