If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some of us, March is the start of pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are caused by the release of tree and flower pollen into the air and can greatly inhibit everyday functioning for those that suffer from them.
How can you guard your eyes this allergy season? Whenever possible limit exposure to pollen by staying indoors, particularly when the pollen count is high. Keeping windows closed, using air conditioners and wearing full-coverage sunglasses when exposed to the elements can also help to limit exposure to allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known cleanse allergens from the air inside your home or office.
Since most of us must go outside on occasion, there are medications that can reduce symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a basic lubricating eye drop will moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out allergens. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will alleviate irritation of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral solutions to alleviate eye problems.
Contact lens wearers sometimes have worse symptoms from eye allergy season due to the fact that irritants can accumulate on the outer surface of the lens, bringing about an allergic reaction. This is compounded when oral antihistamines are taken which have a drying effect on the eyes. Contact lens wearers should take steps to ensure eyes are lubricated and replace lenses on time. Some eye doctors recommend switching to daily disposable contacts, since replacing your contacts more frequently greatly diminishes the opportunity for allergens to build up.
When your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. This will only worsen the inflammation. Because some of the effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions do not help, see your optometrist.