Spring Allergies, Eye Allergies, and Contact Lenses
Posted by Shifrah on Monday, April 11, 2011
When it comes to eye allergies, the misery of spring allergies can hit those who wear contact lenses especially hard, Medical News Today reports."

Eye allergy symptoms include itchy and watery eyes, which accompany other allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing, itchy throats. "According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), eye allergies, also called 'allergic conjunctivitis,' are a reaction to indoor and outdoor allergens - pollen, mold, dust mites and pet dander - that get in the eyes and cause inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner eyelid."

Those with contacts have the added problem of their contacts becoming difficult to wear when spring allergies hit. In fact, contact lens wearers experience increased symptoms, mainly due to extended wear time and infrequent lens replacement. To make the spring season more comfortable, staff optometrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, W. Lee Ball, O.D. recommends:

• Talking to your optometrist about altering your contact cleaning method.
• Possibly switching to single-use contact lenses.
• Reducing lens-wearing time by switching to glasses for part of the day.
• Using eye drops as prescribed by your optometrist.

Another thing to keep in mind if you have spring allergies and wear contacts is that antihistamines may actually make eye allergies worse by reducing tear quality and quantity. Again, talk to your optometrist about solutions like eye drops.

To help prevent eye allergy flare-ups during spring allergy season, follow these additional tips from the AOA:

• Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.
• Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
• Wash bed linens and pillowcases in hot water and detergent to reduce allergens.
• Avoid sharing eye makeup. If possible, reduce eye makeup wear entirely.
• Never share contact lenses or contact cases with anyone else.

See also, Eye Allergies and the Naso-Ocular Reflex.

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