If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to seasonal eye allergies. For some, spring is eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Springtime eye allergies are often a result of 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 protect your eyes during allergy season? If at all feasible, try to decrease contact with allergens by remaining inside, particularly on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, using air conditioners and putting on full-coverage shades when exposed to the elements may also help to limit exposure to irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used cleanse allergens from the air when you are inside.
Nevertheless, for those of us that must go outside, there are medicines that can reduce symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a basic lubricating eye drop is enough to soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out irritants. Medicines with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to alleviate redness and swelling of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral solutions to alleviate eye symptoms.
Approximately 20% of the U.S. population, or 54 million people are affected by allergies, almost half of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies often run in families and are the result of an over-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.
Most importantly, don’t rub red, itchy eyes. This can just worsen the inflammation. Due to the fact that some of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, book a visit with your optometrist.