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A Guide to Preventing the Effects of Eye Allergies

Do you have red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes? If yes, it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some, March is the beginning of pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Springtime eye allergies are caused by the release of tree and flower pollen into the air and can greatly inhibit everyday functioning for those that experience them.

How can you protect your eyes during allergy season? Whenever possible decrease exposure to pollen which means staying inside, particularly on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, using air conditioners and putting on full-coverage sunglasses when exposed to the elements may also help to reduce contact with allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used clear irritants from the air inside your home or office.

Since most of us must leave the house on occasion, certain medications can reduce symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a simple eye drop will soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of allergens. Medicines containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to reduce inflammation 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 pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye symptoms.

Contact lens wearers often experience greater discomfort from eye allergy season due to the fact that irritants tends to stick to the exterior of the lens, triggering an allergic reaction. This is made worse when oral antihistamines are taken which have a drying effect on the eyes. Those who wear contacts should take steps to keep their eyes lubricated and replace contacts on time. Many eye care professionals prefer the use of daily disposable lenses, since replacing your contact lenses more frequently lessens the opportunity for allergens to build up.

If your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. Doing so can only worsen the irritation. Because some of the products that work to alleviate symptoms do require a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, see your eye doctor.

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