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Home » What's New » A Guide to Preventing the Effects of Eye Allergies

A Guide to Preventing the Effects of Eye Allergies

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We all know why we need to wear sunglasses and sunscreen in the summer. Winter, however, can be deceiving. It's an illusion to assume that we are safe from sunburns during the colder season.

Snow acts as a powerful mirror for sunlight and magnifies the effects of UV rays which would otherwise be absorbed by the ground. As a result, the eyes are exposed to both the UV radiation bouncing back from the snowy carpet and the rays shining down directly from the sun.





If your family is skiing or snowboarding up in the mountains, you need to be even more careful! UV rays are more powerful at higher altitudes. Another important factor to remember is that ultraviolet radiation penetrates through clouds, so even if the sun is hidden behind them, it can still damage your eyes.

Prevent overexposure to sunlight by wearing sunglasses that absorb at least 95% of ultraviolet radiation when you go outside, no matter what time of year it is. Even though you want to look great in your shades, the most important part of choosing sunglasses is making sure they provide adequate protection against UV. Make sure the lenses are 100% UV blocking by looking for an indication that they block all light up to 400 nanometers - UV400. The good news is you don't necessarily have to pay more for full coverage for your eyes. Dozens of reasonably priced options exist that still provide total ultraviolet protection.

Another important factor in selecting sun wear is the size of the lenses. You want to make sure your glasses cover as much of the area around your eyes as possible. The more coverage you have, the less harmful radiation will be able to penetrate. Lenses that wrap around the temples will also prevent UV waves from entering from the sides.

If you like to ski or frolic in the snowy hills, you should be aware that the sun's rays are stronger at higher elevations, so you need to be especially careful to keep your eyes shaded on the slopes. In addition to sunglasses, it's a good idea to put on a wide brimmed hat that covers your eyes.

Make a point to be knowledgeable about proper eye protection throughout the year. Don't forget to wear your sunglasses.

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.