How Seasonal Allergies Affect your Eyes

April 30, 2020

How Seasonal Allergies Affect Your Eyes

As spring is coming into full swing, we tend to find ourselves spending more time outside. You may start to notice during this time of year your eyes start to get more red, itchy, and watery – especially on those days that you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. What is happening to our eyes and how can we help? Today we’re going to discuss seasonal allergies, and how they can affect your eyes.

What causes ocular allergies?

There are a large number of things that can cause ocular allergies. Pet dander, dust mites, perfumes, and other irritants can come from sources inside the home throughout the year. During the spring and fall seasons plants start to release pollen which is a major source of seasonal allergies.

Grass pollen is generally worse in the spring, and ragweed in the fall. These small particles float in the air and come in contact with our eyes. When our immune system overreacts, inflammation occurs which causes the eyes to get watery, itchy, and congested.

What are the symptoms of ocular allergies?

On top of having nasal congestion or a runny nose, symptoms of ocular allergies include: redness, itching, burning, watering, crusting, swelling, and possible contact lens discomfort. Sometimes symptoms are very similar to other eye problems, like infection, so if ever in doubt call your optometrist to have your eyes evaluated.

What can we do to help?

Wearing eye protection when you’re outside can help tremendously. Especially if you’re doing lawn work (mowing, gardening, etc.) and using power tools or mowers, wearing safety glasses or goggles can help prevent pollen and other materials from getting into the eye.

Drinking lots of water and staying hydrated can help with symptoms of dryness due to allergic reactions. If you wear contacts, rinse your lenses with contact lens solution after spending a prolonged period outdoors and consider wearing glasses if symptoms are bothersome.

If it seems to be a continual problem call your optometrist! We see patients in Northwest Arkansas all the time for ocular allergy problems. We can determine with an evaluation of the front surface of your eyes whether it is allergies, infection, or other type of inflammation. Depending on the severity of your symptoms we can recommend over the counter or prescription medications to help alleviate symptoms of your ocular allergies.

When in doubt give us a call!

If you have respiratory problems with allergies as well, we sometimes consider referring patients to allergists for full testing, to determine what substances cause problems for patients and provide better resources to reduce symptoms in the future.

Dryness, redness, and itching are very common eye symptoms. If you ever have symptoms that become severe and cause pain or discomfort always give us a call immediately so we can determine how best to treat the problem!

Posted in Blog, Common eye problems, Eyecare Tips by Logan Page, O.D. | Tags: