If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some of us, March begins pollen season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are often a result of an influx of tree and flower pollen into the air and can cause a severe impact on quality of life for those that experience them.
How can you guard your eyes this allergy season? If at all feasible, try to limit exposure to allergens which means staying inside, in particular when the pollen count is high. Keeping windows shut, using air conditioners and putting on wrap-around sunglasses when exposed to the elements may also help to reduce contact with allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to remove irritants from the air when you are inside.
Since most of us must go outside on occasion, certain medications can reduce symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a basic rewetting drop is sufficient to soothe and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out allergens. Products with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can allay 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.
Individuals that wear contacts sometimes have worse symptoms from eye allergies due to the fact that allergens can enter the eye and accumulate on the exterior of the lens, triggering inflammation. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, worsening the situation. Contact lens wearers are advised to make sure to ensure eyes are lubricated and switch lenses as directed. Many eye doctors recommend switching to daily disposable contacts, since changing your contact lenses daily greatly diminishes the chances of buildup and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub irritated eyes. Doing so can just worsen the irritation. Because many of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions do not help, book a visit with your eye doctor.