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.