Summer Eye Allergies and How to Treat Them
Longer, sunny days and warm weather are the hallmarks of summer, a time most of us look forward to all year. In fact, there aren’t too many downsides of summer unless you are one of the millions that suffer from seasonal allergies and the itchy, watery eyes often associated with them.
Why do my eyes hurt in summer?
Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis is the most common type of eye allergy and it can leave you wishing summer would come and go quickly. It's caused by allergic reactions to pollen counts in the air, which come from trees, grass, weeds and ragweed, and is most common in the spring and summer.
Due to the increased heat and high levels of pollen and other pollutants, your eyes become extra sensitive to the air during the summer months. Redness, itching and burning are the most common symptoms and, while not serious, can be extremely uncomfortable. However, with a few precautions and strategies, eye allergies don’t have to ruin your summer!
Some of the most common symptoms of eye allergies include the following:
- Burning sensation
- Watery eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Gritty feeling in your eyes
How to Safeguard Your Eyes
Over-the-counter treatments, such as the use of artificial tears to wash allergens and pollutants away, decongestants to reduce redness, or oral antihistamines to relieve itching, can be effective in treating your symptoms. After spending time outdoors it can also be helpful to wash your face to remove any allergens you may have come in contact with while outside.
Here are ten tips for beating the heat (and allergens) when it comes to your eyes:
- Always wear sunglasses when you are outside to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, sun glare and pollutants.
- Rinse your eyes with preservative-free saline water or apply a cold, wet washcloth after you’ve been outside.
- Use lubricating eye drops to moisten dry eyes and rinse out additional allergens.
- Swap your contact lenses, which can aggravate symptoms, for your RX eyeglasses.
- Avoid rubbing your eyes, regardless of how much they itch (try #2 or #3 instead!).
- Protect your eyes from sunburn by wearing a hat as well as sunglasses. Sunburn in and around the eye area can exacerbate symptoms.
- Wear eye protection, regardless of cloud cover, when working outside to minimize irritants getting in your eyes.
- Apply sunscreen carefully to avoid getting it in your eyes as the chemicals in traditional lotions can further irritate your eyes.
- Eat an antioxidant rich diet (hint: eat the rainbow!) to protect your eyes from the inside out. Foods rich in beta-carotene and dark leafy greens are especially good for your overall eye health.
- Stock up on EyKuver to turn everyday RX eyeglasses into sunglasses so you can shield your eyes from the sun wherever your adventures take you.
Don’t let eye allergies get in the way of your summer plans this year. With a few precautions you can still enjoy the warmer days and outdoor adventures that make summer everyone’s favorite season.