Are you experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to spring eye allergies. For some of us, March is the beginning of eye allergy time, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are often a result of an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can cause a severe impact on 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 pollen which means staying indoors, particularly on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, using air conditioners and putting on wrap-around sunglasses when going outside can also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known to remove allergens from the air when you are inside.
Since most of us have to go outside on occasion, certain medications can treat symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a basic over-the-counter eye drop is sufficient to moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out irritants. Products with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can allay inflammation of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Drops often work more quickly and effectively than oral solutions to alleviate eye problems.
Approximately 54 million people have allergies, almost 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies can be genetic and result from an over-sensitivity to an irritant that has entered the eye regardless of whether is it harmful. The eye releases histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
When you are experiencing irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. This can only increase the irritation. Because often effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter options do not help, see your eye doctor.