If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to spring eye allergies. For many of us, March begins pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are caused by the release of pollen from trees and flowers into the air and can greatly inhibit everyday functioning for those that suffer from them.
How can you protect your eyes this allergy season? The first answer would be to limit exposure to pollen by staying indoors, especially on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, cooling off with air conditioning and wearing wrap-around shades when going outside can also help to reduce exposure to irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used filter particles from the air when you are inside.
Since most of us have to leave the house on occasion, certain medications can alleviate symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a simple eye drop will soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of irritants. Medicines with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers can reduce inflammation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as cold-like symptoms. Drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye symptoms.
Approximately 54 million people suffer from allergies, nearly 50% of which are eye allergies. Eye allergies can be hereditary and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to a particle in the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eyes then release histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub irritated eyes. This will just increase the irritation. Due to the fact that some of the products that work to alleviate symptoms do require a prescription, if over-the-counter medications are not working for you, book an appointment with your eye doctor.