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Home » What's New » What Contact Lenses are the Best for Allergies?

What Contact Lenses are the Best for Allergies?


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.

If I have allergies, either seasonal or year round, what are the best contacts for me?

Millions of Americans suffer seasonal and year-round allergies. If you’re one of them and a contact lens wearer, here are some ideas to reduce your suffering. Unfortunately, allergens have a special attraction to contacts especially the soft contacts, which most contact lens wearers now use.

The American Optometric Association reports that three-quarters of all contact lens wearers complain of allergen-caused eye pain and irritation.  This problem is further exacerbated because of the improper treatment and are used in response to red itchy and sometimes painful eyes.

Dr. Diane Galbrecht of Galbrecht Eyecare in Olathe, Kansas, treats many allergy sufferers in her practice and provides some recommendations especially for her contact lens wearers. “Allergens trigger a chemical response in your body that causes the excessive production of natural substances in your tears,” reported Dr. Galbrecht. “These chemicals in your tears which can also bind to your contacts and cause blurring and additional discomfort beyond the allergy.”

Dr. Galbrecht suggests the following ideas if you are an allergy-prone contact lens wearer:

Switch to Glasses During Allergy Season. “While many of my patients do not want to wear glasses at all,” Dr. Galbrecht told us, “they are almost always more comfortable when they do.” The allergens in the air, such as pollen and dust, attach themselves to contact lenses, and the particles stick. This means a lot of irritation for the wearer

Keep Your Eyes Well Hydrated. Keep a container of artificial tears handy, and use them as often as you need them. This will help your eyes feel better and also wash some of the allergens out. Avoid redness reducing solutions as they are only cosmetic and won’t do anything to make your eyes feel better.

Keep Your Contacts Clean. In allergy season, It is time to get even serious about your lens cleaning routine. Clean more often, and use a preservative-free solution. For disposable lenses, make sure you are disposing as suggested and not extending the life of the contacts.

Rubbing and Scratching Makes Matters Worse. When it comes to your eyes, don’t rub or scratch even though they are itchy. Excessive rubbing actually worsens the irritation leading to more itchy and grainy feeling. Instead of running and scratching, get a cool washcloth or other compress and gently treat your eyes to a little TLC. It will keep swelling and itching in check.

See a Doctor. If you’re really suffering, by all means, see an eye doctor. Your optometrist can prescribe medications that can help. Also, while there, an eye exam can rule out other more serious problems.

Read more about eye allergies here!