How hay fever affects the eyes

Sneezing, sniffling, stuffy nose, itchy throat and itchy, red, dry eyes: Auckland hay fever sufferers know all too well what comes with springtime.

Hay fever can really ruin your day. But, with a bit of planning, and some of our help, you can win the battle and get relief.

Seasonal allergies are caused by high pollen levels released by trees, grass, outdoor moulds and weeds. For many, about 20 per cent of us, this means suffering through months of misery. But there are things you can do to ease your symptoms and get relief.

How do allergies irritate eyes?

Allergies can often cause a great deal of discomfort. When our bodies’ natural defences over-react to what should be innocuous substances like pollen, dust, and animal dander, we get allergies. The immune cells in our eyes produce a chemical called histamine. It is this substance that produces all the:

  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy, red, burning eyes
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Contact lens discomfort

These are symptoms many of us are all too familiar with. But wait. Our Auckland Optometrist can help hay fever sufferers. Treatments for itchy eyes caused by hay fever include eye drops, pills, and nasal sprays. However, we must check that it is actually hay fever you are suffering from.

If you are experiencing eye allergy symptoms, make an appointment with our team. Come in for a consultation and we will use specialised tools to detect the presence of allergies and thoroughly examine your ocular health. We can give you an accurate diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment. We can also recommend strategies to manage or avoid exposure to those irritating allergens.

To help itchy eyes caused by hay fever, we do have a few tips to get you through allergy season:

  • Wear sunglasses to keep allergens away from your eyes when you’re outside
  • As soon as you come back inside wash your hands thoroughly
  • Shower and wash your hair before bed to remove pollen from the day.
  • Don’t dry clothes outdoors on a sunny day—hay fever sufferers are especially allergic to pollen released during this time, dry your laundry indoors rather than outside when you can.
  • Limit dust accumulation. Wash your bedding frequently, using hot water. Clean shelves with a wet rag and floors with a mop, instead of dry-dusting or sweeping.
  • Use Metservice’s pollen forecast as a guide for knowing when it’s safe to go outside or not. Stay indoors as much as possible on days when the pollen count is high.
  • Keep your windows closed and use air conditioning at home or in the car.
  • Good news for anyone who hates mowing the lawn; this is one chore you can excuse yourself from. Avoid mowing the lawn.
  • Resist the urge to rub your eyes—this will only make them itch more.
  • Stay away from food that produces histamine, such as pickles, cured and smoked meat and fish, cheese and nuts.
  • Although tempting to relax with an alcoholic drink on a hot summer’s day, alcohol is packed with histamine, so avoid it.
  • Try placing cold compresses on your eyelids. This can be done with a cloth soaked in cool water. Cucumber slices also work well.
  • Flush out irritants with artificial tears or other lubricating eye drops.

Following these tips can help make allergy season a little more bearable. If you’re struggling with symptoms, be sure to talk to our Auckland optometrists for more help.

optometrists relieve hay fever eyesYou don’t need to suffer with hay fever eyes

Our team can help get your hay fever under control so you can start enjoying the outdoors again. Come in and see us today to get started on feeling better!

Here’s how we can help relieve itchy eyes

Our optometrists can help you find the right eyedrops to reduce irritation and inflammation. Artificial tears both moisten the eyes to soothe irritation and wash away the allergens. They can be used as often as needed. Antihistamines can also help reduce itchiness and redness. We can prescribe antihistamine-mast cell stabiliser eye drops like Patanol. These eye drops prevent the release of histamine that causes an allergic reaction. Being a combination eye drop to treat and prevent eye allergies, they work best if used before allergen exposure to prevent itching. They can be applied twice a day for fast, long-lasting relief of itching, burning, tearing, and redness.

Oral antihistamines can be mildly effective in relieving the itching associated with eye allergies. However, care is needed. They can dry eyes out which actually worsens allergy symptoms.

Don’t suffer hay fever symptoms any longer

If you struggle with itchy eyes during the allergy season, be sure to see us for help. With the right treatment plan, you can get relief from your symptoms and enjoy the sunny weather.

Book an appointment with John O’Connor optometrist. Email our Auckland Optometrists or phone Newmarket Optometrist 09 522 1283 and Henderson Optometrist 09 836 1731.