We rejoice as the sun comes around, but for millions of us the arrival of spring is often accompanied by annoying allergy symptoms.
Approximately one in three adults in the UK will be affected by a seasonal allergy at least once in their lifetime.
Allergy season can be particularly rough on eye allergy sufferers, notes Optometrist Daska Barnett Bsc (Hons) MCOptom. “Many allergy sufferers say symptoms such as itchy, dry, red and watery eyes leave them frustrated and irritable, tired, and distracted,” she says.
Allergy season also can be particularly challenging for many of the UK’s four-million contact lens wearers. According to Barnett, “Increased levels of discomfort during allergy season can cause many contact lens wearers to use rewetting drops more often, wear their contacts less frequently, or switch back to glasses. The good news is that many allergy sufferers should be able to successfully wear contact lenses, even through the worst allergy season.”
To help eye allergy sufferers make it through this sometimes difficult season, Barnett offers the following advice. Additional tips for contact lens wearers can be found at www.acuvue.co.uk/allergy-guide.
- In the first instance, if you are experiencing any problems with your contact lenses or any form of discomfort in your eyes, it’s always worth consulting your Eye Care Practitioner, to be absolutely sure of the cause of the problem.
- Find out what causes your allergy and try to avoid the trigger. “If pollen is what bothers you, try to stay indoors and minimize the amount of time you are in the wind, which blows allergens around.”
- Be cautious with allergy tablets that claim to ease allergy symptoms. “Quite frequently, allergy medication can dry the eyes out. If you must take an allergy pill, try to take it at night so the drying effect is not as dramatic. Talk to your doctor about what medication(s) are best for you.”
- Allergens and other irritants can build up on contacts over time, leading to discomfort and symptoms such as itching, tearing and redness. “Daily disposable lenses like 1âDAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses are a healthy and more comfortable option for any lens wearer and can be ideal for some people with eye allergies. Putting a clean, fresh lens into the eye each day minimizes the potential for the buildup of irritants that occur with repeated use of the same pair of lenses.”
- Use preservative-free artificial tears. “People who suffer from eye allergy symptoms may also find that the preservatives in artificial tears also cause discomfort.”
- Consider allergy drops, which are prescribed by a doctor. “I tell my patients to put the drops in each eye in the morning before inserting contact lenses and then put a few drops in at night after they remove their lenses.”
- Take a cool facecloth and place it over the eyes to ease swelling and discomfort. “Relax for a bit with the washcloth over the eyes to relieve symptoms.”
- Overnight wear of contact lenses should be avoided.
- Understand that if the symptoms of allergy affecting the eyes continue, a period without contact lens wear may be indicated.
Femalefirst Taryn Davies