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Walter Shurminsky O.D.

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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 seasonal eye allergies. For many, March begins pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Spring eye allergies are often a result of an influx of tree and flower pollen into the air and can result in a severe impact on quality of life for those that experience them.

What can you do to protect your eyes during pollen season? Whenever possible decrease contact with pollen by remaining indoors, in particular on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows shut, cooling off with air conditioners and putting on wrap-around shades when exposed to the elements can also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also known cleanse allergens from the air inside your home or office.

Since most of us must leave the house on occasion, there are medicines that can treat symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. It's possible that a simple lubricating eye drop is all that's needed to soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of irritants. Medications containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to allay inflammation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work more quickly and effectively than pills or liquid medications to treat eye problems.

Contact lens wearers often have worse symptoms from eye allergies since irritants can stick to the outer surface of the lens, triggering an allergic reaction. Further, oral antihistamines can dry out the eyes, worsening the situation. Contact lens wearers are advised to make sure to keep their eyes lubricated and replace contacts on time. Many eye care professionals prefer the use of daily disposable lenses, since replacing your contacts daily reduces the opportunity for allergens to build up.

If you are experiencing irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. This will only increase the inflammation. Because often products that work to alleviate symptoms do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, schedule a visit with your eye doctor.

COVID-19 Update: Our office will be reopening for routine eye care on Monday, June 1, 2020. Appointments will be limited at first so call or schedule using our online scheduler.

For a list of updated COVID-19 protocols and procedures that we are implementing in our office for your safety as well as the safety of our staff, click here.