Although many associate seasonal allergies with the arrival of springtime, a large number of individuals suffer during the fall as well. Above sneezing and congestion, ocular allergies can significantly impede one's ability to function normally.
Symptoms of ocular allergies include tearing, itching, swelling and burning. Often vision becomes blurry or eyes become sensitive to light. These effects can be so debilitating for allergy sufferers that they prohibit an individual's ability to perform in all aspects of everyday life - from work to play.
When an individual with allergies is exposed to an allergen he or she is sensitive to, the immune response is to send out histamines to defend against the ''intruder''. This defense by the hypersensitive immune system results in typical allergic symptoms which include general symptoms as well as those related to the eyes.
For contacts wearers eye allergies are frequently worse because lenses can often attract pollen. Further, when our eyes itch, we tend to rub them which can result in even more discomfort for lens users. Use of rewetting drops can sometimes reduce discomfort but many contact lens wearers choose to limit the use of their contacts. If you wear contacts and experience ocular allergies, it could help you to try switching brands, particularly to single use, daily disposables which minimize the likelihood of pollen accumulation. You don't have to suffer from your contacts - schedule an appointment at our Fairfax, VA optometry practice to talk to a professional about your options.
Regardless of whether you wear contacts or not, here are a few ways to reduce exposure and symptoms of fall eye allergy discomfort:
- Avoid outdoor activities when pollen counts are highest (usually mid-morning and early evening)
- Wear big sunglasses to help block the pollen from entering your eyes.
- Keep pets indoors as much as possible as they can carry allergens into the house.
- Clean floors with a damp mop instead of a broom which can often stir up rather than clean away allergens.
- Try not to rub your eyes. Use a cool compress for soothing irritation or itchiness.
- Eliminate mold in your home by keeping the house dry and using a dehumidifier if necessary.
While over the counter medications and eye drops can sometimes help relieve symptoms, a prescription medication may be more effective. If this is the case, make an appointment with your eye care professional now to discuss your options and begin proper treatment. Our Fairfax, VA optometry office would be happy to help your eyes feel their best despite allergy season!