After a long, Ohio winter, nothing is more celebrated than the day the weather finally breaks and consistently radiates spring-like weather. For allergy sufferers, however, spring can also spell misery in the form of sneezing, a runny nose, and red, itchy, watery eyes.
With more than 50 million Americans suffering from various types of allergies each year, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, it’s no wonder that allergies are the sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.
Seasonal Allergy Symptoms
Seasonal allergy symptoms rival those of a cold, with common symptoms including:
- Itchy, red, watery eyes
- Puffy eyes
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Throat irritation
Spring is meant to be enjoyed and with the right preparation, you can lessen the impact of seasonal allergies.
Here are six things you can do to prepare your eyes for spring:
6 Tips for Eye Allergy Relief
1. Avoid Problematic Allergens.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for seasonal allergies, but there are ways to manage and treat your allergy symptoms. One of the most effective ways to minimize eye discomfort is to avoid or limit your exposure to troublesome allergens altogether.
To start, check the day’s pollen levels before heading out the door. If the pollen level is high and you don’t necessarily need to go outside, stay inside until after midday – this is when pollen levels begin to fall.
Planning your spring and summer around pollen levels is pretty unrealistic, though. You’ve got things to do and weather to enjoy. When you’re determined to get outside, be sure to:
- Take your allergy medicine before you head out the door.
- Wear a mask, such as a painter’s mask, as an air filter if you’re doing yard work or similar tasks.
- Steer clear of pollutants, such as car exhaust, as these tend to exacerbate allergy symptoms.
- Keep your home allergen-free by finishing spring cleaning chores before pollen levels kick up, keep windows closed on high pollen days, and change your HVAC filters routinely and before starting your A/C unit for the first time this season.
2. Start Allergy Medications Early.
As previously noted, it’s wise to remember to take your allergy medication before you go outside for the day, or – for people who suffer from severe seasonal allergies – take it before allergy season even arrives. Being proactive with your allergy treatment will help ensure symptoms don’t get out of control when the pollen starts to fly.
3. Drink Green Tea.
Adding a cup of green tea to your daily diet is not only a healthy habit, but it could also be a powerful way to fight allergies.
According to the American Chemical Society, researchers in Japan conducted laboratory tests and identified a compound in green tea that blocks a key cell receptor involved in producing an allergic reaction.
Green tea also possesses several other compounds that have shown to be anti-allergenic, but laboratory research done on the compound methylated epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) reveals that there is a more potent anti-allergenic component to the healthy drink.
4. Start Cold Therapy.
Delivering immediate relief and improved appearance around the eyes, cold therapy is an easy way to soothe allergy symptoms, like eye redness, itchiness, tenderness, and swelling.
While many retailers sell cold therapy eye compresses, you can easily make one at home using a soft, clean cloth or towel.
- Simply soak the cloth in cold water
- Wring out the excess water
- Gently place the cloth over the eyes
- Repeat the process when the towel loses its chill
For severe allergy symptoms, place the wet cloth in the refrigerator for approximately 10 minutes. A colder compress may provide more relief.
5. Wear Your Glasses.
The surface of your contact lenses can act as magnets to airborne allergens, quickly collecting tiny particles of dust and pollen.
Along with trying to avoid allergens completely, swapping your contact lenses for glasses on days when your allergies are or may be more severe is a guaranteed way to reduce eye discomfort from allergies.
6. Get Ahead of the Irritation: Schedule an Eye Checkup.
Eye allergies are one of our nation’s most prevailing, but overlooked, diseases. If you suffer from allergies, the benefits of visiting your eye doctor for regular eye-health checkups cannot be overemphasized.
Your optometrist will give your eyes a full evaluation to determine:
- Your overall eye health
- Exactly how your eyes react to allergens
- Specific treatment options that will work best for you
If you need prescription strength allergy eye drops or a different treatment, your eye doctor can prescribe you medicated relief in the form of artificial tears, eye drops, or decongestants.
Take the right steps this allergy season to ensure your eyes don’t cause you discomfort. Let the eye experts at I Care Vision help you take the best care of your eyes this and every allergy season.
Eye allergy relief is possible.
Scheduling an appointment not only can you provide you relief from your discomfort, but also prevent other illnesses. We often see patients with eye allergies that have become upper respiratory or eye infection.