alarm-ringing ambulance angle2 archive arrow-down arrow-left arrow-right arrow-up at-sign baby baby2 bag binoculars book-open book2 bookmark2 bubble calendar-check calendar-empty camera2 cart chart-growth check chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up circle-minus circle city clapboard-play clipboard-empty clipboard-text clock clock2 cloud-download cloud-windy cloud clubs cog cross crown cube youtube diamond4 diamonds drop-crossed drop2 earth ellipsis envelope-open envelope exclamation eye-dropper eye facebook file-empty fire flag2 flare foursquare gift glasses google graph hammer-wrench heart-pulse heart home instagram joystick lamp layers lifebuoy link linkedin list lock magic-wand map-marker map medal-empty menu microscope minus moon mustache-glasses paper-plane paperclip papers pen pencil pie-chart pinterest plus-circle plus power printer pushpin question rain reading receipt recycle reminder sad shield-check smartphone smile soccer spades speed-medium spotlights star-empty star-half star store sun-glasses sun tag telephone thumbs-down thumbs-up tree tumblr twitter tiktok wechat user users wheelchair write yelp youtube

Allergies and Our Eyes

Spring is a beautiful season with lots of flowers and vibrant greens…but it can be hard to enjoy when you have allergies.

So why does springtime leave so many of us with itchy, red, and puffy eyes? How can we be sure it’s allergies and not something else, and what can we do to keep our eyes feeling good so we can enjoy the season?

The Culprits Behind Seasonal Allergies

Allergies can be caused by all kinds of things, from pet dander to dust to perfume, so they aren’t necessarily limited to a particular time of the year. However, they do tend to get worse in the spring and the fall, and that’s because of pollen. Some plants, like grass, pollinate in the spring, while others, like ragweed, pollinate in the fall.

During this time, the air becomes full of these tiny particles that we can breathe in or get in our eyes without realizing. When that happens to someone with an overactive immune system, it leads to congestion, itchy eyes, and plenty of sneezing.

The Eye’s Response to Allergens

Typically, eye-related allergy symptoms will include watering, redness, and itchiness, and there may also be a scratchy or gritty feeling, a burning sensation, swollen eyelids, and some discomfort wearing contact lenses. It might seem that taking decongestants will help, but they could make the eye symptoms worse by drying out the eyes, which will only make them even more vulnerable to airborne allergens.

Tips for Soothing Allergy Symptoms

It’s very important to stay well hydrated during an allergy attack, and you can use eye drops to help with eye irritation (especially if you take an allergy medication that dries them out). It’s also a good idea to stick to glasses instead of contacts, which can trap allergens against the eye and make symptoms even worse. And no matter how much they itch, don’t rub your eyes!

Allergy Prevention

It’s not really possible to completely avoid all that pollen in the air, but there are ways we can minimize our exposure. Keep your windows shut and don’t use window fans that can blow the pollen into the house. It’s also a good idea to stay inside on windy days and wear a pollen mask while doing yard work. Even wearing sunglasses or regular glasses can offer some protection for your eyes.

Count On Your Optometrist

Whether you’re having eye trouble because of allergies or any other reason, we’re here to help. We want all of our patients to be able to enjoy the spring season, so give us a call if you’ve been dealing with itchy, runny eyes.

We wish you all a wonderful spring!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.