Are you experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some of us, spring is pollen 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 greatly inhibit quality of life for those that experience them.
How can you protect your eyes during pollen season? Well the most obvious answer would be to limit exposure to allergens which means remaining inside, especially on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows closed, using air conditioners and putting on full-coverage sunglasses when exposed to the elements may also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used cleanse allergens from the air inside your home or office.
Since most of us must leave the house on occasion, certain medications can alleviate symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. It's possible that a simple over-the-counter lubricating eye drop is all that's needed to soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of irritants. Medications containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can alleviate inflammation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Drops often work better than oral products to alleviate eye symptoms.
Nearly 20% of the U.S. population, or 54 million people suffer from allergies, nearly 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies can be genetic and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to an irritant in 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.
If you are experiencing irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. Doing so can just worsen the inflammation. Because some of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter medications do not help, see your optometrist.