What are eye allergies?
Eye allergies are usually sparked by the same irritants that cause sneezing, itchiness, runny noses and other symptoms among allergy sufferers. The most common airborne allergens are mold, pollen, dust and pet dander. Other potential allergens such us food and insect stings don’t usually affect the eyes.
Eye allergies can also be caused by certain beauty products, make-up and eye drops such as eye brighteners for cosmetic purposes and artificial tears to help with dry eyes. It’s important to test products with small drops before using them in full.
Benjamin Franklin once said “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". He also invented bifocals, so we’ll take his word for it, as there are many things you can do to prevent allergies from flaring up.
How to deal with allergies
Though you may not be able to avoid an eye allergy completely, there are several measures you can take to reduce its symptoms.
- Check the pollen count in the morning to gauge how at risk you may be
- Avoid any products that could provoke your allergies
- Stay indoors or away from areas with open fields of grass and flowers when the pollen count is high
- If you must go out, wrap around style sunglasses can help keep pollen out of your eyes
- Carry around an eye wash kit to give your eyes a rinse
- Remove your lenses if you feel too uncomfortable. Airborne allergens can accumulate on the surface of the lenses. We recommend sticking to daily contact lenses during allergy seasons as you can dispose of the lens after a single use and avoid the buildup allergens and debris
- Find eye drops that work for you and that can help reduce the feeling of irritation. There are many over-the-counter solutions that you can purchase without a prescription
- Avoid rubbing your eyes as this releases histamine and aggravates allergy symptoms
- You can purchase air purifiers with an allergy trapping filter for your heating/cooling system
- Wash your face with cool water in the evening to relieve your eyes of any traces of pollen that may irritate you when you sleep
- See your doctor or optometrist to discuss additional measures or medication you can take
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A guide to swollen eyelids
Top tips for contact lenses and allergies