Although many people think of spring as prime allergy season, fall is also a time of year when allergy sufferers may need some relief. The high pollen counts from a warm summer coupled with the dryness of fall can create the conditions for irritating ocular allergies. While there’s no serious risk to your eyesight, fall eye allergies can cause eyes to water, be itchy, light-sensitive, red, swollen, and can cause temporary blurriness.
Fall eye allergies are caused by an overreaction by the immune system to something normally harmless that comes in contact with the mucus membranes of the eyelids. Allergens can cause your eyes to release histamines that create eye discomfort. But there are things you can do to both prevent and relieve these symptoms:
- Stay indoors in the mid-morning and early evening when pollen counts are highest.
- Don’t rub your eyes, it can make your symptoms worse. Try a cool compress.
- Vacuum often and use a HEPA filter to prevent allergens from building up in your house.
- Keep windows closed at night and car windows closed as you’re driving.
- Avoid decongestant eye drops that curb eye redness by constricting the eye’s blood vessels. They can often make the problem worse with overuse.
- For contact lens wearers, ask your eye doctor if a switch to daily disposable contact lenses, such as Proclear 1 Day lenses is good for you. Daily disposables help prevent allergens from building up on the surface of the lens.
- Ask your eye doctor about prescription eye drops that combine antihistamine-mast cell stabilizers and corticosteroids, or in severe cases, ask about allergy shots.
If you’re curious about the current pollen count in your area, or are going on a trip and want to find out if you need to pack the eye drops, check out this Allergy Survival Guide by CooperVision.