Do you have red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to seasonal eye allergies. For some, March is the start of eye allergy season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are largely due to an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can cause a severe impact on quality of life for those that suffer from them.
What can you do to defend your eyes this allergy season? Whenever possible decrease exposure to allergens which means staying indoors, especially when the pollen count is high. Closing windows, using air conditioning and putting on full-coverage sunglasses when going outside can also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to clear particles from the air when you are inside.
However, for the majority of us that must go outside, there are medications that can reduce symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a simple rewetting drop is sufficient to soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out irritants. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will allay irritation of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Eye drops often work better than oral products to alleviate eye symptoms.
About 20% of Americans have allergies, nearly 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies often run in families and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to a particle in the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eyes then release histamines and other immune mediators which cause excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub irritated eyes. This can only increase the inflammation. Because often products that work to alleviate symptoms do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, book a visit with your eye doctor.