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Preventing Itchy Eyes during Allergy Season

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For some people, the allergy season lasts throughout the year. The result is usually red, puffy eyes that also itch, sting and burn. For those living in warmer regions, these eye-aggravating allergies can become a nuisance for as many as 9 out 12 months.

Eye allergies develop when the body’s immune system sensitizes and overreacts to an element of the environment that usually poses no problem for most people. The most common of allergens include pollen, pet dander, dust and mold. Certain eye drops or cosmetics can also make the eyes dry – making them itchy and red. Food allergies and insect bites do not affect the eyes as seriously as these airborne allergens.

Preventing the Eyes against Allergies:

The first and most important step to manage and treat eye allergies is to avoid allergens as much as possible. This can be done by limiting outdoor exposure.

When Outdoors:

  • Try and stay indoors as much as you can when the pollen counts are at their highest, especially during early evening and midmorning, and when the wind is blowing pollens around.
  • Do not use window fans; they can draw molds and pollens into the house
  • Wear sunglasses when outside to minimize the chances of pollen coming in contact with your eyes.
  • Avoid rubbing your eyes, which will further irritate your eyes and may even worsen the condition.

When Indoors:

  • Keep the doors and windows closed as much as you can. Turn on the AC, do the same when you are driving around.
  • AC units should also be kept thoroughly clean.
  • Minimize exposure to dust-mites. For that, use “anti-mite” duvets, comforters, pillow covers, box springs and mattresses. Wash your bed spread as often as you can, and use hot water (a minimum of 130 degrees Fahrenheit) to completely get rid of any harmful allergens.
  • Keep mold build-up in check by reducing humidity in the house. Clean your kitchen, basement and bathrooms regularly and avoid keeping spots warm and damp. If the mold is visible, clean the place with bleach and detergents.
  • Clean the place with a wet mop or rag, instead of just sweeping or dry-dusting.

When Handling Pets:

  • Wash or sanitize your hands immediately after handling animals. If you have friends with pets, wash your clothes after visiting them.
  • If you are allergic to your household pet, keep it outside as much as you can. If it must be kept inside, stay in your room and avoid coming in contact with the animal.
  • Replace carpets with concrete flooring and close the air ducts if your place has central cooling or heating or forced-air.

Relieving the Effects of eye-allergies:

  • Remove your contacts immediately since they accumulate and attract airborne allergens
  • Apply cold, damp washcloth to help with severely itchy eyes
  • Use over-the-counter eye drops for instant relief from redness, puffy and itchy eyes
  • Prescription Medicine. If your symptoms are serious, see an optometrist without delay, discuss your condition and use the prescribed medicine

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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