For midwesterners, spring can be an exciting time of the year. As the snow melts and flower buds appear, many people look forward to warmer and sunnier days ahead.
For many people, however, spring is notorious for causing much misery. Itchy, watery, and painful eyes can turn the prettiest time of year into a season of suffering.
Enjoy the flowers! Read for tips on reducing spring allergy symptoms.
Why Your Eyes Hate Spring
Why does spring bring on misery to allergy sufferers? For one thing, pollen and other allergens are released into the air more abundantly during this season, meaning those with an allergy to them will suffer more symptoms than usual.
Pollen: Tiny Particles with a Big Impact
Although a myriad of substances can cause allergies, by far, the biggest spring allergy trigger is pollen. Pollen is tiny, almost microscopic grains released from trees, grasses, and weeds to fertilize other plants. When pollen particles get inhaled by someone who is hypersensitive to pollen, it triggers an autoimmune response called an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions happen when the body mistakenly identifies the pollen as a dangerous invader and, in order to protect itself, releases antibodies to fight against the invader.
Along with antibodies, the body also produces chemicals called histamines. When histamines enter the bloodstream, they trigger symptoms commonly associated with allergies. These symptoms often show up as itchy, watery eyes, swelling around the eyes, sneezing, and a constantly runny nose.
Ocular Allergies: Signs and Treatments
The most noticeable symptoms of allergies for many people happen in the eyes. These symptoms can vary from itchy and watery eyes to redness or pain caused by irritation or strain. It should be noted that ocular allergies are typically harmless concerning eyesight and pose no long-term threat to the health of your vision.
Eye allergies present differently than other illnesses, causing redness and itching eyes before other symptoms appear. This can be highly uncomfortable and impair vision clarity or the ability to enjoy the outdoors when the weather warms up.
However, relief is possible through targeted treatments. Visiting an eye care professional or allergist can be a great way towards relief if you can pinpoint exactly which allergens are causing you grief.
Ocular allergies can affect all aspects of life and should not be taken lightly. If you experience seasonal allergies that disrupt your quality of life, call Rivertown Eye Care to schedule your appointment with our talented optometrists.
Spring Allergies and Medication
Certain medications are formulated to evaporate histamines in your body. These usually work best if taken before any allergy symptoms appear. Taking antihistamines or decongestants specific for allergic reactions could also help relieve eye pain. These treatments act as anti-inflammatory therapies helping reduce swelling and redness, allowing for much-needed relief from day-to-day suffering.
Eye drops can also help temporarily reduce redness and itching caused by allergies. Rivertown Eye Care recommends products like Pataday, Zaditor, and Lastacaft. We advise against using eye drops that reduce redness, as they can actually worsen symptoms. If you have any questions, you can call or schedule an appointment.
The best course of action for anyone dealing with ocular allergies is to book an appointment with an optometrist for a thorough eye exam. A doctor can help diagnose the root cause and rule out serious medical situations like pink eye.
After completing this assessment, your doctor will discuss the best treatment options that will provide the best relief from the symptoms you are experiencing. Depending on the severity, options can range from over-the-counter allergy treatments to prescription treatments like steroids and antihistamines – all of which offer temporary relief for eye allergens.
Habits That Can Help Reduce Allergy Suffering
Although it's impossible to avoid allergy symptoms altogether, there are some things you can do to reduce suffering and maintain a healthy pair of eyes during spring allergy season (and beyond).
Spring Allergy Tips for Healthy Eyes
First thing first: Avoid allergens! Whenever possible, try to keep your windows closed when you go outdoors to minimize your exposure to pollen-filled air.
Consider wearing sunglasses, goggles, or other protective eyewear outside to reduce the amount of pollen particles that get into your eyes.
Taking a shower after being outdoors can help wash off any lingering allergens on your body and hair before they get into your house.
Finally, if you wear contact lenses, opt for disposable ones that can easily be replaced if they irritate or aggravate your eyes due to allergies.