March 20th marks the first official day of spring — a day that many of us look forward to throughout the long winter months, but with spring’s beautiful weather and blooming flowers comes seasonal allergies. High levels of pollen, dust and other irritants can leave eyes feeling less than stellar. Approximately one fifth of all Americans suffer from eye allergies leaving them with itchy, swollen, watery, and red eyes.
Because seasonal allergies are mainly caused by plant life that releases pollen into the air, they can be difficult to avoid. However, there are some ways that you can help lessen your allergy symptoms and keep your eyes protected this spring.
- Keep an eye on pollen reports. Your local weather channel will most likely give regular updates on the pollen counts for your area. When pollen counts are high, try and limit your outdoor activities as much as possible.
- Limit your exposure to wooded areas.
- When you do go outdoors, wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from pollen, ragweed, etc.
- Close your doors and windows especially in the early morning hours when pollination tends to occur. Use air conditioning during the warmer months.
- Remove your contacts. Because the surface of contact lenses can attract airborne allergens, you should consider wearing eyeglasses during allergy season. You could also consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses that you can throw away after one use to avoid any possible build-up of debris and other allergens on the lenses.
- Use artificial tears or lubricating drops to relieve dry eyes or to flush out any irritants.
Be preemptive this allergy season and make an appointment to see your eye doctor. Your eye care provider may have more solutions to help you enjoy spring without red, itchy, swollen eyes.