Are you experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For many, March is the beginning of pollen season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are largely due to an influx of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can cause a severe impact on quality of life for those that experience them.
What can you do to protect your eyes this pollen season? If at all feasible, try to decrease exposure to pollen which means staying inside, especially on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, cooling off with air conditioners and putting on wrap-around shades when exposed to the elements can also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known clear allergens from the air when you are inside.
Nevertheless, for those of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, there are medications that can treat symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a simple over-the-counter rewetting drop is enough to moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and remove allergens. Medications containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can allay redness and swelling of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Drops often work better than oral solutions to treat eye problems.
Contact lens wearers often experience greater discomfort during eye allergy season since allergens can accumulate on the surface of the lens, causing an allergic reaction. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, compounding the situation. Those who wear contacts should make sure to keep their eyes lubricated and switch lenses as directed. Many eye doctors recommend switching to daily disposable lenses, because changing your contact lenses daily lessens the chances of buildup and irritation.
If you are experiencing irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. Doing so can only increase the irritation. Due to the fact that many of the effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter medications do not help, see your eye doctor.