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Guarding Your Eyes During Allergy Season

If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to seasonal eye allergies. For some, March is the start of eye allergy time, which means uncomfortable symptoms such as red eyes, itchy eyes, stinging, burning and watery eyes. Spring eye allergies are largely due to an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit everyday functioning for those that experience them.

How can you protect your eyes this allergy season? The first answer would be to decrease contact with allergens which means staying inside, particularly on days with a high pollen count. Keeping windows closed, using air conditioning and wearing wrap-around sunglasses when going outside can also help to reduce contact with allergens in the atmosphere. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to clear particles from the air when you are inside.

Since most of us have to go outside on occasion, there are medicines that can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a basic rewetting drop will moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and flush out irritants. Medicines containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers will reduce irritation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than pills or liquid medications to treat eye symptoms.

Nearly 54 million people suffer from allergies, almost half of which are eye allergies. Eye allergies often run in families and result from a hyper-sensitivity to a substance that has entered the eye regardless of whether is it harmful. The eye releases histamines and other immune mediators which cause excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.

If you are suffering from red, itchy eyes, don't rub them. Doing so will only worsen the irritation. Since often effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, schedule an appointment with your optometrist.

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