Do you have red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For many of us, March begins pollen season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are caused by an influx of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that experience them.
How can you protect your eyes during allergy season? Whenever possible reduce contact with pollen by remaining inside, in particular on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, using air conditioners and putting on full-coverage sunglasses when going outside can also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used remove allergens from the air when you are inside.
Nevertheless, for the majority of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, there are medications that can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a simple eye drop will moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and remove allergens. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to alleviate redness and swelling of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than oral medications to alleviate eye symptoms.
Approximately 54 million people suffer from allergies, almost 50% of which are eye allergies. Eye allergies are often genetic and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to an irritant in the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eyes then release histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
If your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. Doing so can only exacerbate the inflammation. Since often products that work to alleviate symptoms do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, book a visit with your eye doctor.