As many of us have probably noticed, spring pollen season is back in full force. Tree pollen counts are already high, and steadily rising, which means people who experience seasonal allergies are starting to really feel the effects of airborne allergens like pollen, as well as pet dander, mold, and dust. These airborne allergens can trigger uncomfortable reactions in a person’s eyes and cause notable vision issues and discomfort. The eye care experts here at Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons wanted to discuss the ways spring allergies can affect the eyes and how these symptoms can be managed.
Seasonal eye allergies, sometimes known as allergic conjunctivitis, are a chronic condition that often flares up during periods of heavy pollen, dust, and exposure to other allergens. This condition can cause a wide variety of allergy symptoms for the eyes including burning or itching eyes, watery eyes, sinus pressure, and redness. In some more severe cases, these irritants can even lead to swelling of the tissue around the eyes. These effects can be especially uncomfortable for people who wear contact lenses.
Thankfully, there are things you can do to effectively manage and minimize the effects of spring allergies on the eyes. We recommend the following:
- Try to stay indoors during times like the morning and early evenings when pollen is at its worst. Figuring out an indoor workout instead of an outdoor jog or walk during these times is recommended.
- Consistently wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water, and avoid any unnecessary rubbing and touching of the eyes.
- Be aware of what you track back into your house after time spent outdoors. For example shoes, coats, hats, and pets can all bring pollen in from outside. Keeping windows and doors closed can also be helpful. Change your linens more often during the spring season and wash them in hot water to avoid remnants of airborne allergens clinging to towels and bedsheets. Washing or rinsing your hair at night can also help keep linens clean.
- If you wear contact lenses, try reducing the amount of time you keep them in to help avoid irritation. In some cases, switching to daily disposable contact lenses during the spring can make a difference.
- Speak with an eye care specialist to see if they can recommend anything that can provide relief. Some people may benefit from prescription-strength eye drops and other medications used to reduce the allergic response.
If these steps are unsuccessful, or if your symptoms persist once allergy season has concluded, it could be a sign of a different eye condition as opposed to just allergies. If you’re experiencing any difficulties this spring contact Georgia Eye Physicians & Surgeons to book an eye appointment with Dr. William Segal or Dr. Marc Lay. Don’t forget to follow along with us on Facebook for eye care tips, news, and much more.