Why does this happen to us every year? What can we do to help our eyes enjoy the spring season better?
Technically, allergies aren’t limited just to spring. Plenty of allergens exist year-round, like pet dander and dust, but our allergies do tend to get worse in the spring and in the fall. If you are susceptible, you might spend months feeling congested, with an itchy throat, puffy eyes, and a lot of sneezing and coughing.
We have pollination to blame for these allergy seasons. Grass pollinates in the spring and ragweed in the fall, so all these particles are in the air just waiting to be breathed in by and land on the eyeballs of someone with an overactive immune system.
The most common eye-related allergy symptoms are itchiness, redness, and watering, but they can be accompanied by swollen eyelids, a scratchy or gritty feeling, a burning sensation, and discomfort with contact lenses. Taking decongestants can also make the eye problems worse by drying the eyes out and leaving them more vulnerable to allergens in the air.
There’s no practical way to avoid airborne allergens 100 percent of the time, but we can certainly minimize our exposure to them. Staying inside on windy days will help. If you have to go outside for yard work, wear a pollen mask. Keep your windows shut and avoid using window fans that can blow spores and pollen inside. Wearing sunglasses or regular glasses can also give your eyes some protection.
If an allergy attack strikes, make sure to stay hydrated and use eye drops if your eyes become irritated, particularly if you’re using allergy medication that dries them out. You also might be more comfortable wearing glasses until you feel better because contact lenses can trap allergens against your eye and aggravate your symptoms. Finally, avoid rubbing your eyes, because that will make things worse!
If your eyes are giving you trouble, whether it’s because of allergies or not, we’d love to help. It’s no fun to spend the spring with runny, itchy eyes, and we want you to enjoy the season as much as possible. Schedule an appointment with us so we can make a plan to beat your seasonal allergies!