Are you experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, you may be suffering from seasonal eye allergies. For some, March is the start of eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are caused by the release of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can cause a severe impact on quality of life for those that suffer from them.
How can you guard your eyes this allergy season? Whenever possible limit contact with pollen which means staying inside, especially on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows shut, cooling off with air conditioning and wearing wrap-around shades when exposed to the elements may also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used cleanse particles from the air when you are inside.
However, for the majority of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, there are medications that can alleviate symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a simple over-the-counter eye drop will moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of irritants. Medications containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to reduce irritation of the eyes and treat non-eye related symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Drops often work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye problems.
Approximately 20% of Americans are affected by allergies, almost 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies are often hereditary and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to an irritant that has entered the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eyes then release histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub red, itchy. Doing so will just exacerbate the irritation. Since many of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter options are not working for you, see your eye doctor.