Spring is upon us. Many people look forward to the end of winter and the return of warm, sunny days, leaves on the trees and flowers blooming. For allergy sufferers, though, spring can be the most dreaded time of year.
Read on to learn the causes of seasonal allergies, signs to watch for, and tips for spring eye allergy relief to help you be more comfortable.
Causes of Eye Allergies
Allergens are substances that are normally not harmful to many people but can cause an adverse reaction in others. Airborne allergens that commonly cause eye issues include pollen, dust, pet dander and mold.
Eye allergies can also be the result of a bad reaction to products used in or around the eyes, such as eye drops and cosmetics.
Other types of allergic reactions, such as allergies to certain foods or reactions to insect bites, do no usually affect the eyes in the way that airborne allergens can.
Signs of Allergies
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America estimates that 50 million Americans suffer from indoor/outdoor allergies, which include seasonal allergies, and that number is only increasing over time. An estimated 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children are affected.
The most common signs of seasonal allergies are:
- Itchy, swollen eyelids
- Sinus congestion
- Itching in nose/mouth/throat
Allergies can be hereditary, so if you are a parent who has allergies, the odds are higher that your children will suffer from them, as well.
Start Treating Early
Pollen, the tiny grains that are released by trees and grass, is the most common spring allergen. It gets in the air, travels for miles, and causes general misery for those who can’t tolerate it.
The spring pollen season starts a lot earlier than most people think. As soon as the weather starts warming up, trees begin budding and grass starts sprouting. When this happens, pollen starts filling the air and causing those itchy, swollen eyes that allergy sufferers dread.
Treating your allergies early is the key to getting ahead of the symptoms. However, if you haven’t spoken to a Houston optometrist about eye allergy symptoms, it’s best to do so before starting medication. Excessively watery eyes can be a common symptom of allergies OR dry eye syndrome. It’s important to know which is the cause before treating.
Tips for Spring Eye Allergy Relief
If allergies are the cause of your eye issues, here are a few tips for relieving the discomfort:
- Topical antihistamine drops: Allergic eye symptoms can be greatly helped by topical antihistamine drops. These drops can provide spring eye allergy relief within 5-10 minutes, and daily use can even prevent the itching from starting.
- Spring cleaning: Allergens are prone to sticking on fabrics such as your clothes and shoes, furniture, carpets, and even people. Washing clothes, shoes and bed linens often, and frequently vacuuming your floors and wiping down surfaces can help minimize the allergens in your home.
- Limit outdoor exposure: Stay indoors on dry, windy days when the pollen count is high. If you need to go outside, consider wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes: Although it may be tempting, rubbing your eyes can worsen the symptoms and lead to further irritation.
Other small habits you can observe to help reduce your exposure to allergens include:
- Frequently wash hands
- Avoid touching face
- Wear sunglasses when outdoors
Schedule an appointment today with a Houston optometrist at Berkeley Eye Center and find out the best options on eye care for allergy season.