We’ve all been there. Itchy, red and swollen eyes bother us from the time we wake up and all through the day. We are sneezing, our eyes are watering and swollen, our vision is blurry, and we are generally miserable! You may think you are catching a cold, but then you notice the yellow dust that’s covering your car and almost everything else. It’s not a cold at all, but the onset of spring allergies. The pollen is everywhere and you realize it’s only going to get worse. Now it’s time for you to figure out what to do about the misery of spring eye allergies.
Texas in the Spring
Springtime in Texas is stunning with the bluebonnets and other wild flowers in bloom, but if you suffer from allergies, this is a particularly uncomfortable time of year. Children are not immune to this so be aware of their symptoms too.
Allergies appear when our immune system reacts to our environment. This reaction is caused by allergens. There a several types of allergens with pollen and mold presenting the most severe problems since we inhale them. When we encounter such an allergen, our body produces histamines which induce inflammation and swelling. The various types of allergens include:
o Plant allergens like ragweed, oak, pecan, grass, elm that produce pollen
o Pet allergens and dander
o Stings from bees, wasps, snakes
The symptoms of post nasal drip, congestion, and sneezing may mock a cold, but make no mistake, what you are experiencing is an allergy.
Unlike what we discussed last month, eye allergies, known as allergic conjunctivitis, are not the same as pink eye or an infection that can be spread to others. Nevertheless, they are no less severe or unpleasant. Burning, itchy, red eyes, runny nose and sensitivity to light are present and all contribute to the misery of spring eye allergies.
Contact Lenses and Allergies
Patients who suffer from seasonal or perennial allergies and also wear contact lenses sometimes think they have become allergic to their lenses. In most cases that is not what is happening. Some contact lens materials collect the allergens on their surface and trap them thus making it very uncomfortable to wear your lenses. It is possible to improve your symptoms by wearing only glasses during certain seasons or changing to daily disposables. Simply by changing your contact lenses every day makes them less likely to have a build-up of allergens. If you are considering a change in your contact lenses or have questions about what you should wear, Buda Vision Source has a wide selection of contact lenses and you can order them online.
Avoid and Control your Allergies
The first step in combatting the misery of spring eye allergies is to limit your exposure to the allergens. Most allergens that affect your eyes are airborne, so they are difficult to control.
Although we crave being outside when the weather is beautiful, it is helpful to stay indoors with the windows closed and the air-conditioner running. Be sure to keep your units clean and change filters regularly. Avoid being outdoors especially on windy days and when pollen is at its greatest levels like mid-morning and early evening. Other ways to avoid and control your allergies include:
o Avoid rubbing your eyes as this can make the situation worse
o Do not utilize window fans because they will only draw pollen and mold into the house
o Wear sunglasses, especially the wrap around type, or glasses while outside as this will help shield your eyes from the pollen
o Over the counter anti-histamines can help relieve the symptoms but only last for a limited time. If used for too long a period, they can make your condition worse
In addition OTC tears can be helpful in the short term for soothing itchy eyes and alleviating dryness.
If these tips do not relieve your symptoms you should seek the help of the eye professionals at Buda Vision Source. Appropriate diagnosis of an eye allergy is essential since the symptoms mimic other eye issues. You will be examined under a slit lamp for signs of an eye allergy like swollen blood vessels on the surface of your eyes. If allergic conjunctivitis is diagnosed, Dr. Benham will prescribe eye drops and oral medications along with a treatment plan to relieve your symptoms.
Don’t wonder any more about what to do about the misery of spring eye allergies.
If you are suffering with these uncomfortable symptoms or have any other eye issue, contact Buda Vision Source and enjoy this gorgeous time of year in Texas.