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Protecting your eyes during allergy season

Published on May 22, 2019 at 12:30

Eye symptoms associated with seasonal allergies are caused when eyes come into contact with pollen that is released into the air by various plants. While it is impossible to prevent plants from releasing their pollen, it is possible to reduce your exposure to these irritating particles and to relieve your symptoms by taking a few simple preventive measures.

When you go outdoors

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, even when it’s cloudy. They create a screen that minimizes the amount of pollen that gets in your eyes. 
  • If you wear contact lenses, use daily disposable lenses during pollen season or, alternatively, wear your glasses. Pollen tends to stick to the surface of contact lenses and can be hard to remove, even with careful cleaning.

Prevent pollen from getting inside your home

  • Keep the windows in your home and car closed. Pollen particles are tiny, and can pass through window screens. 
  • Clean your air duct and air conditioning filters on a regular basis. 
  • Dry your laundry indoors.

Adapt your activities

  • Avoid all outdoor activities when pollen counts tend to be highest, i.e., between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m., when the weather is hot and dry, or when it is windy. 
  • Consult weather forecasting websites to check pollen counts by region when planning your activities.

Relieve your eye symptoms

  • Always keep artificial tears handy. They are helpful for rinsing eyes and relieving symptoms. Keep a bottle in the fridge, as the effect of the cold liquid can help soothe itchiness. 
  • Apply cold compresses to eyes for ten minutes to relieve irritation and itchiness. 
  • If your symptoms are limited to your eyes (itching, redness, watering, feeling of sand in your eyes, etc.) try using allergy eye drops. 
  • An antihistamine or corticosteroid nasal spray may be useful if you have both eye and respiratory symptoms (sneezing, liquid nasal discharge, nasal congestion, etc.).

Consult your pharmacist: They can help you choose the right medication according to your symptoms and condition.

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