Spring is well and truly here – there’s blossoms and flowers everywhere!

But that means pollen is also everywhere and for some people that means very uncomfortable time.

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Why does hay fever affect my eyes?

When your body is exposed to something that you are allergic to, your immune system works to protect your body. Part of that protection causes the cells in your body to release histamine into your bloodstream.

Histamine is an organic compound that can cause an allergic eye reaction. Your eyes react to histamine by becoming itchy, red, puffy and watery.

Antihistamines have been developed to inhibit histamines.

What causes an eye allergy?

There are a number of things that may be causing your allergic reaction.

  1. Outdoor allergens such as grass, tree and weed pollen.
  2. Indoor allergens including pet hair, mould found in moist rooms, pollution and dust mites. These can trigger symptoms for people all year-round.
  3. Irritants such as perfume, cigarette smoke and car exhaust can cause an allergic reaction in some people.
  4. Contact lenses can react to the proteins in your tear film that binds to the surface of the lens.
  5. Medication can cause an allergic reaction. If you have a reaction you should be monitored by your doctor.
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How to stop itchy eyes and treat eye allergies

Prevention

Avoiding the substance that causes your allergy is the first step. Solutions to try include keeping windows closed during high pollen seasons, wearing eyewear to protect your eyes from pollen, washing your hands after patting animals, using a dehumidifier and investing in mite-proof bedding.

Over-the-counter medication

Talk to your pharmacist about using antihistamines.

Prescription medication

Your optometrist can recommend eye drops and artificial tears to help your symptoms. These may need a prescription or may be a non-prescriptive solution.

 

Book an appointment today

If you’re suffering from eye allergies or are approaching 2 years since your last eye test, book an appointment to see your optometrist today.