It seems like every season is allergy season. In the spring, it’s the tree and flower pollen. Summer adds grass pollen. In the fall, it’s weed pollen. People who have allergies have symptoms such as sneezing, sniffling, and nasal congestion, but allergies can affect the eyes, too. They can make your eyes red, itchy, burning, and watery, and cause swollen eyelids. For some people in warmer parts of the country, this can be a bother for as many as 10 months out of the year.
Here are 15 tips on how to get relief from Eye Allergies:
- Get an early start. See your eye doctor before allergy season begins to learn how to reduce your sensitivity to allergens.
- Wash your face. Washing your face is one of the first things you should do to combat itchy, swollen eyes. It can help wash away the allergens sticking to your skin and eyelashes.
- Apply a cold compress. Cold compresses around the eyes can be helpful with itching and swelling. Soak a towel or washcloth in cold water or refrigerate a damp cloth or eye pillow. Then lie down with the compress across your eyes to let the coolness reduce swelling.
- Rinse out the eyes. Rinse out the eyes if you can with a little bit of water, and that’s usually helpful. That will loosen the allergens from the inside of your eyes and help to flush them out.
- Don’t rub your eyes if they itch! Eye rubbing releases more histamine and makes your allergy symptoms worse.
- Use plenty of artificial tears to wash airborne allergens from your eyes. Ask your eye doctor which brands are best for you.
- Cut down your contact lens wear or switch to daily disposable lenses to reduce the build-up of allergens on your lenses.
- Shower before bedtime and gently clean your eyelids to remove any pollen that could cause irritation while you sleep.
- Consider purchasing an air purifier for your home, and purchase an allergen-trapping filter for your heating/cooling system.
- Pay attention to pollen reports. Your local weather channel or weather-related web site regularly gives pollen counts for your area. When the counts are high, limit how much time you spend outdoors if you can.
- Have someone else mow your grass when possible.
- Avoid wooded areas.
- Close doors and windows, and use air conditioning during warmer months. Know that allergens can be circulated through the air conditioning's filter, though. If you have bad reactions to pollens, the use of air conditioning may not be wise if your flare-ups are severe.
- Try to avoid or limit your exposure to the primary causes of your eye allergies. In the spring and summer, pollen from trees and grasses are the usual suspects. Ragweed pollen is the biggest culprit in late summer and fall. Mold, dust mites and pet dander are common indoor allergens during winter.
- Protect your eyes from airborne allergens outdoors by wearing wraparound-style sunglasses.
These ideas are often just the first step. For many people, the next is a talk with the doctor about allergy drugs to help relieve symptoms. Your doctor can recommend the correct meds to help prevent or treat that irritation or itchiness.