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Don’t Let Eye Allergies Get You Down

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to spring eye allergies. For many of us, spring is pollen season, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Springtime eye allergies are often a result of an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can cause a severe impact on quality of life for those that experience them.

What can you do to guard your eyes this pollen season? If at all feasible, try to limit exposure to pollen by remaining indoors, in particular on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, using air conditioners and wearing wrap-around shades when going outside can also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used filter particles from the air when you are inside.

Since most of us have to leave the house on occasion, there are medicines that can reduce symptoms such as itchy eyes, red eyes or watery eyes. Often times a simple lubricating eye drop will moisturize and alleviate itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out irritants. Medications with antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to alleviate inflammation of the eyes as well as non-eye related symptoms such as stuffed or runny nose and sneezing. Drops often work better than pills or liquid medications to alleviate eye symptoms.

About 54 million people are affected by allergies, almost 50% of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies are often genetic and result from a hyper-sensitivity to a particle in the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eyes then release histamines and other immune mediators which cause excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.

If your eyes are irritated, don't rub them. This will just increase the inflammation. Due to the fact that many of the effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, see your eye doctor.

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