How to relieve your itchy eyes when spring is in the air
Bright, beautiful flowers are blossoming, the bees are buzzing, and new shoots of grass are coating the lawn with green… these are the classic images that herald spring. But they aren’t the only noticeable signs of the changing season. For many people in LaGrange, itchy eyes, swollen eyelids, sneezing, and a runny nose also appear at this time of year. That’s because the loveliest visions of spring typically release an abundance of pollen and allergens into the air – triggering the start of spring allergies.
Effects of spring allergies on your eyes
Although the nose tends to get most of the media attention when hay fever (another name for spring allergies) is discussed, eye irritation is also pretty common. Millions of people in the United States are treated for uncomfortable or painful eye symptoms due to spring allergies, particularly when the level of grass pollen is high.
While all of us in Kentucky love spending the spring days outdoors, we are sad to report that LaGrange is actually one of the worst cities for seasonal allergies. In fact, it’s so bad that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ranked LaGrange the #6 spring allergy capital for 2019. This is mainly due to large amounts of tree and grass pollen that get trapped in the air stagnating between the hills to our north and south.
The most common eye symptoms caused by spring allergies are:
- Swollen, puffy eyelids
- Watery eyes
- Sensitivity to light
Also called “allergic conjunctivitis”, the annoying symptoms of eye allergies lead many of our patients to seek eye care at Gaddie Eye Centers. What is the best treatment to soothe your symptoms? And is there anything you can do to get rid of your spring allergies? Our LaGrange eye doctor shares some tips on how to recognize and relieve your painful peepers.
Don’t make eye contact with allergens
Go on the defensive and stay away from the allergens that trigger your spring allergies. This is by and large the most important action you can take to prevent your eye irritation. However, since grass and tree pollen are the most common triggers, you’re likely scratching your head (and your itchy eyes) as you wonder how to successfully avoid these widespread, airborne irritants. Before you lock yourself in your bedroom and wait for winter, our LaGrange optometrist has some easier solutions to recommend:
- Keep your windows closed when the pollen count is high. Use a/c in your home, office, and car in order to keep the air around you clean and clear.
- Don’t rub your eyes! Rubbing your itchy eyes is a great way to spread the pollen all over, exacerbating your symptoms.
- When outdoors, wear glasses and sunglasses to block pollen from contact with your eyes.
- Don’t wear your contact lenses! Contacts can make spring allergies worse for your eyes, because the pollen sticks and accumulates on them.
- As soon as you go indoors, rinse your eyes with saline drops and wash your hands well.
- Use a damp mop, not a broom, to clean your floors. Dry sweeping will only push any pollen that’s settled back up into the air.
- If you have a dog, give him or her a bath after taking a walk. This will keep all the allergens from falling from the dog’s fur onto your furniture.
Our LaGrange eye doctor offers treatment for spring allergies
Some ocular allergy symptoms can be managed well with over-the-counter drugs, especially if you have a mild case. Artificial tears eye drops are a great frontline treatment to keep your eye surface clean. Decongestant eye drops may also help, but use them sparingly and with caution – prolonged use can worsen your condition.
Antihistamine eye drops, mast cell stabilizer eye drops, corticosteroid eye drops, and NSAID eye drops are all accepted short-term treatments for ocular irritation caused by spring allergies. Because these are all prescription drugs, you will need to visit our LaGrange eye doctor (and possibly an allergist too) to determine the best medication for your individual condition.
While some non-sedating oral histamines may also be effective at alleviating your itchy eyes and irritation, they can also dry out your eyes and make the irritation worse. If your spring allergies are extreme and get in the way of normal life, immunotherapy allergy shots or tablets may offer long-term relief.
Are spring allergies disrupting your days? Visit Gaddie Eye Centers for more tips on how to soothe your symptoms in LaGrange!