As we say so long to the cold winter days here in Newfoundland and warmly welcome spring, we’re not so welcoming to the seasonal allergies that breed at this time of year. Pollen gets dispensed into the air, which can unfortunately make eyes dry, itchy, red, puffy, swollen and watery. With this much irritation it can be hard for those affected by seasonal allergies to enjoy the outdoors at this time of year. If allergies are effecting your eyes, you’re not alone. Allergic conjunctivitis is the term used to describe allergies that affect the eyes. More specifically, it’s when allergies cause the conjunctiva (the membrane covering the white part of the eye) to inflame.
The eye’s reaction to allergies is only natural. Our eyes feel threatened by foreign substances (even if they’re harmless) and reacts by releasing histamine and other substances. Histamine is responsible for the onset of irritation and windy conditions and can worsen symptoms by blowing the allergens directly into the eyes.
Treatment and Relief of Seasonal Spring Allergies
If you suffer from seasonal allergies that affect your eyes, there are a number of things you can do to help alleviate symptoms. Start by identifying the triggers that cause your reactions so that you can find the appropriate treatment and solution.
- Wearing sunglasses will not only protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, but they will help to keep pollen and debris out of your eyes. Putting on a hat will add additional protection.
- Lubricating over-the-counter eye drops can provide temporary relief of symptoms and can help to flush out allergens. Tip! Refrigerate eye drops for additional soothing, comfort and relief. A lot of these eye drops contain antihistamines that block the effects of histamine.
- Eliminating your exposure to the triggers can help to reduce symptoms. However, staying indoors 24/7 isn’t an ideal or realistic solution. Choose to stay indoors when pollen counts are at their highest, usually during mid-morning and early evening.
- Turn on the air conditioner and close the windows to keep the allergens from entering your home.
- Applying a cold compress to the eyes for a couple of minutes before leaving the house can also help to provide temporary relief.
- It’s harder than it sounds, but avoid rubbing your eyes! It may provide relief for a moment, but it can actually release more of the chemicals and histamine that cause irritation.
- If you’re a contact lens wearer, try removing your contacts. Contact lenses can create more discomfort because they make your eyes dry. Let your eyes breathe! In addition, contact lenses are like sponges, meaning they not only attract dust and debris (including allergens), but they can also accumulate on the lens. Switching to daily disposables can help to keep your contacts fresh and allergen-free.
If seasonal allergies are affecting your eyes and your life, it’s important to talk to your doctor. You may have allergic conjunctivitis. There are a number of prescription treatments available, including stronger eye drops that they can prescribe.
Are seasonal allergies affecting your eyes? If so, we can help! We want you to enjoy the spring and summer months to come, so don’t hesitate to contact us. It is our mission to provide St. John’s with the most professional, reliable and state-of-the-art eye care. If you suffer from symptoms of dry eye, we can help with that too. We are the only accredited Dry Eye Center in Newfoundland and can treat all forms of dry eye. Your vision is important to us!