"If you're someone who struggles with red and irritated eyes brought on by springtime madness, this blog's for you.

Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes

Spring is one of our favorite times of the year. If you’ve lived here in Michigan for a while like we have (73 years), then you know nothing compares to spring in this beautiful state. And while we love the season, its beautiful flowers, crisp air, and freshly cut grass, we know the allergies that come with it can be a total downer.

But never fear! We here at Rx Optical are seasoned pros and have come prepared to share all of our tips and tricks for combating whatever the season might throw at you. If you’re someone who struggles with red, irritated eyes brought on by springtime madness, this blog’s for you.

Why Your Eyes Itch 

When the seasons change, so do the particles that blow around in the air. As this happens, seasonal allergies can often pop up. It might mean a bunch of new flowers, but it also spells trouble for your eyes.

Eye allergies happen when your body overreacts to its surroundings. When this happens, your immune system starts to create antibodies. Those make your eyes release histamine, a chemical that helps your body to get rid of the things that bother it. That results in an allergic reaction, redness and all that fun stuff.

Allergies are never a good thing, but even though they can be uncomfortable, they normally aren’t a big cause for concern. So don’t worry! Still, if your symptoms get bad, call your doctor. Infections and other conditions can also have similar symptoms.

Types of Allergies

There are two types of allergies that can irritate your eyes: seasonal and perennial.

Seasonal allergies are very common and typically stay true to their name. That means they occur whenever the seasons change. Common triggers include pollen from grass, trees, flowers, weeds and mold.

People with perennial allergies unfortunately deal with their allergies year round. If you have perennial allergies, you’re probably allergic to common things like dust mites, feathers, and animals.

How to Help Your Eyes

Your eyes do a lot for you, so treat them right, especially when dealing with allergies. The best thing you can do for your eyes is to avoid your triggers! Once you’ve identified what sets off your allergies, help your eyes out by avoiding things that cause irritation.

For example, if you’re someone who suffers from pollen allergies, try staying indoors when pollen counts are highest. This is normally around mid-morning and early evening.

When you do go outdoors, make sure to wear sunglasses. Not only will they help protect your vision from harmful UV rays, but they can also help block some of the pollen from getting to your eyes. When driving on a warm sunny day, keep your windows up, too. That will keep your eyes from getting additional pollen exposure while you’re driving down the road.

Last but not least, don’t rub your eyes! If they’re irritated, adding additional pressure and disturbance will only increase your discomfort. Soothe your eyes with some of these methods, like removing your contacts and using a saline rinse.

 

Some over-the-counter and prescription medications will give you short-term relief, but it never hurts to talk to a general health professional and your eye doctor. Schedule an appointment with us! We would love to talk more about keeping you and your eyes happy and healthy.

 

 

A brand shows blossoming flowers while text reads, "'50 million people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies.' - American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology."

Itchy Eyes? It Could Be Spring Allergies

Ah, springtime in Michigan. The smell of flowers is in the air, birds are chirping, the sun actually feels warm as it shines, and…what’s that? You can’t see the birds or the flowers because your eyes are itchy? Sounds like all that spring weather also brought out your seasonal allergies.

Our team of experts knows how frustrating it can be when you’re trying to enjoy all spring has to offer, despite battling itchy eyes caused by your seasonal allergies. That’s why we have the tips you need to help you see spring in Michigan comfortably.

How Do I Know If I Have Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies are very common. In fact, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies and that it affects 30% of adults and 40% of children.

The most common seasonal allergy symptoms are eye allergies. Symptoms of eye allergies include having red, itchy, or watery eyes. If you have seasonal allergies, you will also likely have a runny nose and have frequent sneezing fits.

What Causes Seasonal Allergies?

The most common airborne allergens that cause eye irritation are pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. These are typically harmless substances, but in people who are predisposed to allergic reactions, these substances become allergens. Those allergens become a threat to comfortable vision.

All of these allergens are fairly small, but because of the nature of these substances, seasonal allergies tend to affect the eyes with more severity than food allergies or other allergic reactions.

How Can I Relieve My Seasonal Allergies?

Begin by trying to avoid allergens. If you limit your exposure to the allergens that cause you the most discomfort, you will experience less severe reactions. Because pollen can irritate allergies, make sure you’re particularly careful on days with high pollen counts.

However, we know that it’s next to impossible to sit inside and stare out the window at beautiful Michigan spring weather. Start by wearing glasses instead of contacts when outdoors, since contact lenses can cause your eyes to become more irritated by allergens. Invest in a pair of sunglasses that have wide sides in order to help shield your eyes from pollen when you are out and about. You should also avoid driving with the windows down (I know, I know, we’re no fun) to keep out the buildup of debris and pollen.

One of the best ways to relieve your itchy eyes is to get prescription eye drops. When you schedule an eye exam with one of our doctors, we can help you get on the road to an enjoyable spring season – itch-free!