Are you experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to seasonal eye allergies. For many, March is the beginning of eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are caused by an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can cause a severe impact on everyday functioning for those that experience them.
How can you protect your eyes this allergy season? If at all feasible, try to decrease contact with allergens by remaining inside, especially when the pollen count is high. Keeping windows shut, using air conditioners and wearing full-coverage shades when going outside may also help to limit contact with allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known filter particles from the air when you are inside.
However, for the majority of us that must go outside, there are medications that can alleviate symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a basic over-the-counter rewetting drop is enough to soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and remove irritants. Products with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can allay inflammation 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 products to treat eye symptoms.
Contact lens wearers often have worse symptoms during eye allergy season since allergens are more likely to accumulate on the outer surface of the lens, triggering irritation. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, worsening the situation. Contact lens wearers are advised to make sure to keep their eyes moist and switch contacts as directed. Some eye doctors suggest the use of daily disposable lenses, since replacing your contact lenses daily lowers the chances of buildup and irritation.
When your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. Doing so can just exacerbate the irritation. Because many of the products that work to alleviate symptoms do require a prescription, if over-the-counter options are not working for you, see your eye doctor.