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Eye Allergy Season is Coming – Are You Ready?

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes you may be suffering from spring eye allergies. For many of us, spring time is pollen season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Springtime eye allergies are largely due to the release of tree and flower pollen into the air and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that suffer from them.

How can you defend your eyes during pollen season? Whenever possible reduce exposure to pollen by remaining inside, especially when the pollen count is high. Keeping windows shut, using air conditioning and putting on full-coverage sunglasses when going outside can also help to limit contact with allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to clear particles from the air inside your home or office.

Nevertheless, for those of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, certain medications can alleviate symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a basic lubricating eye drop will soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of irritants. Medications with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will alleviate irritation of the eyes and treat non-eye related symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral solutions to alleviate eye symptoms.

Nearly 20% of Americans suffer from allergies, nearly 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies are often genetic and result from a hyper-sensitivity to an irritant that has entered the eye regardless of whether is it harmful. The eye releases histamines and other immune mediators which cause excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.

When you are experiencing irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. This can just exacerbate the irritation. Because some of the effective medications do require a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, see your optometrist.