Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes
Spring is upon us here in Maine, and although the longer days and warmer weather are a welcome change, seasonal allergies are an unpleasant downside. Allergies from the changing seasons can result in a plethora of symptoms, from red, swollen and itchy eyes to soreness and burning. Allergic conjunctivitis is a specific condition in which seasonal allergies leave eyes red and puffy. Runny nose, sneezing, congestion and stuffiness are also common side effects.
When you feel the negative effects of allergies, your body’s immune system is misfiring and releasing histamine, a chemical that causes inflammation and swelling. Maine Optometry is proud to offer various solutions to your eye-related seasonal allergies.
Identifying Your Allergy Triggers
When it comes to seasonal allergies, knowledge is power. The first step to relieving your allergy symptoms is to identify your triggers. If your eyes well up when you go outside in the spring or summer, you may have seasonal allergic conjunctivitis. If your symptoms are triggered indoors, dust or mold may be the culprit, in which case frequent household mopping and investing in a dehumidifier should relieve your symptoms.
Although rubbing your eyes can be almost irresistible when suffering from an allergy attack, do your best to resist the urge. Touching your eyes causes mast cells to release itch-causing chemicals that will only worsen your symptoms. Eye makeup can also further irritate allergy-prone eyes, so skip the makeup if your eyes are feeling sensitive and remove contact lenses when you’re able to, if you wear them.
Keep an Eye on Pollen Counts
One way to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is to monitor pollen counts. When they are reported as high, stay indoors with the windows closed and run the air conditioning. Sunglasses can also be a great way to keep pollen out of your eyes. Browse the diverse selection of sunglasses offered at Maine Optometry at one of our seven statewide locations today.
Where to Find Relief
Over-the-counter eye drops can be a convenient and easy solution to seasonal allergies. Antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers block the itch-causing chemicals and decongestants shrink the blood vessels in your eyes, reducing redness. If after trying eye drops you’re still suffering from allergy symptoms, oral medicines offer relief as well-—but they do come with potentially more side effects such as drowsiness and dry-eye.
The Maine Optometry team would be happy to discuss options for your eye health as we head into allergy season. Get in touch with our team of qualified doctors today!