Allergy Season Can Wreak Havoc on Your EyesPosted April 10, 2021
Spring has finally arrived! While the warmer weather is a source of joy and relief for some, it can be tricky for those who suffer from seasonal allergies. Grass, tree, and weed pollen tends to be more prevalent in the spring, causing irritating symptoms for allergy sufferers. Itching, burning, dry, or watery eyes are just a few of the uncomfortable symptoms that can affect your eyes, temporarily impacting your vision. The good news is that allergy symptoms are not contagious and they pose no long-term threat to your overall eye health. In the short-term, though, they can certainly interfere with your quality of life.
Symptoms of Allergies
So how do you know if you’re suffering from seasonal allergies? The symptoms of an allergic reaction can mirror symptoms of other common illnesses. The only way to know for sure if your symptoms are due to spring airborne allergens is to check with your doctor.
However, there are some common, tell-tale signs of an allergic reaction, including a few specifically related to your eyes. Potential symptoms include:
- Itchy, watery eyes
- A burning sensation
- Swollen eyelids
- Blurry vision
- An increased sensitivity to light
If you have seasonal allergies, you’ll probably notice these symptoms get worse when you’re outside and exposed to higher levels of pollen.
What Causes Allergic Reactions?
If you’re curious about the science behind these annoying spring symptoms, it’s actually pretty simple. There are cells in your eyes called mast cells. When your immune system is exposed to a threat (or something it interprets as a threat, even if it’s actually harmless), like pollen, it leaps into action. The mast cells then release chemicals called histamines that stimulate an allergic reaction. The inflammation and watery eyes you may suffer are the body’s way of fighting off and rinsing out the pollen from your eyes.
How to Help
The key question when discussing seasonal allergies is: what can be done? Many at-home solutions and non-prescription remedies can help alleviate allergy symptoms. To start, you should try staying indoors during windy weather, which can kick up pollen in the air. The best time to enjoy the outdoors is right after a rainstorm, because precipitation helps clear out the pollen.
Wearing a mask when you do go outside can help protect you from allergens in the air. This simple solution is one we’ve all become accustomed to over the past year because of the coronavirus pandemic. A cold compress can temporarily relieve inflammation, puffiness and pain around your eyes.
Over-the-counter drugs including antihistamines and medicated eye drops can also be useful, but you should consult your doctor before you try them. Antihistamines could potentially dry out your eyes or make you tired.
When to Contact a Doctor
Your optometrist can collaborate with you to help treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies. They can also help you manage the condition for the long-term.
Optometrists can connect you with specific solutions for your allergy symptoms. For example, you can find a pair of sunglasses at your local optical boutique. Wearing sunglasses can shield your eyes from pollen contact, which can mitigate your symptoms.
You should always consult your doctor if your seasonal allergy symptoms become severely painful or burdensome. Optometrists can help you decide whether stronger remedies, like prescription eye drops, are appropriate for you. The Invision team is always here to assist you with the allergy symptoms affecting your eyes. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with one of our Optometrists and start working towards an allergy mediation plan today.