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Don’t Let Eye Allergies Get You Down

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some, March begins eye allergy season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are caused by an influx of tree and flower pollen into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that suffer from them.

How can you guard your eyes this pollen season? Whenever possible limit exposure to pollen which means staying indoors, especially on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows shut, cooling off with air conditioners and wearing full-coverage shades when going outside can also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used remove irritants from the air inside your home or office.

Since most of us have to go outside on occasion, certain medications can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a simple lubricating eye drop is sufficient to moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and remove irritants. Medications with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will alleviate inflammation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye symptoms.

Approximately 20% of Americans suffer from allergies, almost 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies often run in families and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to a particle that has entered the eye regardless of whether is it harmful. The eye releases histamines and other immune mediators which cause excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.

If your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. Doing so can only exacerbate the inflammation. Due to the fact that often effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, see your optometrist.