If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes you may be suffering from spring eye allergies. For some, spring is pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Springtime eye allergies are often a result of the release of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can result in a severe impact on quality of life for those that suffer from them.
What can you do to defend your eyes this pollen season? If at all feasible, try to limit exposure to allergens by remaining inside, especially on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows closed, cooling off with air conditioning and putting on full-coverage shades when going outside can also help to limit exposure to irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to remove allergens from the air inside your home or office.
However, for those of us that must go outside, certain medications can reduce symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. It's possible that a simple over-the-counter eye drop is enough to moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of irritants. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will allay redness and swelling of the eyes and treat non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Drops often work more quickly and effectively than oral solutions to treat eye symptoms.
Contact lens wearers sometimes find that they suffer more from eye allergies because irritants can enter the eye and accumulate on the surface of the lens, bringing about an allergic reaction. This is made worse when oral antihistamines are taken which have a drying effect on the eyes. Contact lens wearers should make sure to ensure eyes are lubricated and switch lenses as directed. Some optometrists recommend the use of daily disposable contacts, since changing your contacts more frequently lessens the opportunity for allergens to build up.
Most importantly, don't rub irritated eyes. Doing so will only increase the irritation. Because often effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions do not help, book a visit with your optometrist.