Allergic conjunctivitis affects millions of Americans. Even though it’s common, the itching, burning and tearing can be bothersome. Fortunately, there are ways to tame your eye allergies this fall season. If these measures don’t work, be sure to speak with an eye specialist who has a background in treating eye allergies. You may benefit from prescription medications.
In the meantime, here are ten tips to help you alleviate itchy, red eyes during the fall season.
1. Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
It’s tempting to rub your eyes when they’re itchy, but avoid doing so. Rubbing only makes the symptoms worse by triggering the release of inflammatory chemicals. And, if you happen to have particles in your eyes, rubbing them will make the debris move further into the eye.
2. Choose Glasses Over Contacts
Wearing eyeglasses is ideal when your allergy symptoms are acting up. The allergen can build up under the contact lens, re-exposing the eye. If you prefer wearing contact lenses, talk to your eye doctor about switching to daily disposable lenses.
3. Apply Cold Compresses to the Eyes
Cold compresses can help reduce swelling by shrinking irritated eye tissues. At the very least, your eyes will feel relief from the coolness. If you don’t have a cold compress, submerge a washcloth in cold water and ice or place a bag of frozen vegetables over your eyes.
4. Use Over-the-Counter Eye Drops
Try an OTC vasoconstrictor/antihistamine combination eye drop. These drugs reduce symptoms by controlling itching and shrinking swollen blood vessels. Avoid using these drops long-term, as they can cause rebound redness.
5. Avoid Your Triggers
If you know what things bother you, avoid them as much as you can. For instance, pay attention to the mold, pollen and ragweed counts in your area. If you know these levels are high, stay indoors. Close the windows and run your air conditioning.
6. Run Your Air Purifier
Indoor allergies are a bit harder to control. If you’re allergic to pets or dust, vacuum often with a HEPA filter and run an air purifier. These systems clean the air and relieve eye irritation. Purchase a small air purifier for your bedroom or home office, or talk to a professional about installing a whole-home system.
7. Clean Your Contacts Well
According to the CDC, between 40 and 90 percent of contact wearers do not follow the proper care instructions. Make sure you are cleaning your contacts well during allergy season because allergens can get trapped under the lens.
8. Use Artificial Tears
Artificial tears, or lubricating eye drops, add moisture and protection to the eyes. They are safe to use because they don’t contain decongestants that can make your symptoms worse over time. However, avoid overuse as you can become dependent on the drops.
9. Take an Oral Medication
If you have bad allergies, you may need to take an oral medication or start on allergy shots. This is recommended when your allergies affect the entire body – nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat, itchy eyes, etc. The good news is that these medications work on all parts of the body.
10. Talk to Your Eye Doctor
If your eye allergies are still bothering you, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor. They can recommend a regimen that targets your specific allergies. In some cases, a prescription eye medication may be necessary to manage symptoms.
If you suffer from fall allergies, these tips will help you manage your itchy, red eyes. If the strategies you’re using are not working, contact Empire Retina Consultants for help.