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Spring is Eye Allergy Season

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some, March is the start of eye allergy time, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Seasonal eye allergies are largely due to the release of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can cause a severe impact on quality of life for those that suffer from them.

What can you do to guard your eyes during allergy season? If at all feasible, try to limit contact with allergens by staying inside, especially on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, cooling off with air conditioners and wearing full-coverage shades when going outside may also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known to remove irritants from the air inside your home or office.

Nevertheless, for the majority 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. Often times a simple over-the-counter eye drop is sufficient to moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of allergens. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to reduce irritation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Eye drops often work better than oral solutions to treat eye problems.

About 20% of the U.S. population, or 54 million people have allergies, nearly 50% of which are eye allergies. Eye allergies often run in families and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to a substance in the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eye releases histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.

Most importantly, don’t rub red, itchy eyes. This will just exacerbate the irritation. Due to the fact that often products that work to alleviate symptoms do require a prescription, if over-the-counter medications do not help, schedule a visit with your eye doctor.