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Spring Eye Allergies

Spring. Known for April showers, fresh flowers and… allergies? That’s right, with the new season comes a new set of pesky eye irritations brought on by allergic conjunctivitis. So what is this seasonal problem and how can you keep symptoms at bay?

Overview

What are spring eye allergies?

Spring eye allergies and allergic conjunctivitis are your body’s immune response to irritants such as pollen, dust and changes in the weather. The blood vessels in your eyes start to swell and can make them itchy, watery, red and teary.

Causes

What are the different causes of spring eye allergies?

Spring eye allergies are very common and impact over 50 million people in the US each year. Pollen, dust and contact lenses cause this seasonal condition, with the most frequent symptoms being red, itchy, and watery eyes.

When to call the doctor

Although typically harmless, spring eye allergies can be uncomfortable and irritating. But the good news is, both prescription and non Rx eye drops can help! Make an appointment with your doctor if you’re suffering from red, itchy, or watery eyes, so you can enjoy spring — itch free.

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Call the doctor

Allergic conjunctivitis can present similar symptoms to viral, bacterial and irritation conjunctivitis. While these conditions are rarely serious, they can be mistaken for a bigger problem. Call your doctor right away if you’re experiencing blurry vision, light sensitivity, or a feeling that something is stuck in your eye.

Pollen

A powdery and typically harmless substance, pollen can cause inflammation in both eyes, which results in irritation and discomfort.

Dust

Dust can appear year-round and cause chronic allergic conjunctivitis — producing the same side effects as spring eye allergies.

Contact Lenses

In springtime, pollen and other airborne irritants are more likely to stick to your contact lenses, resulting in eye bumps, sensitivity, and redness.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of seasonal eye allergies?

Typically, spring eye allergy symptoms begin as soon as your eyes come in contact with allergens — pollen, dust, etc. However, symptoms may not appear for two to four days. So what should you look out for?

Redness

Often caused by the blood vessels in your eyes swelling.

Irritation

Can accompany nasal allergy symptoms such as a runny nose or cough.

Soreness or Pain

Can occur from rubbing your eyes or dryness brought on by pollen.

Burning

Will appear in one or both eyes and is an immune reaction to allergens.

Swollen Eyelids

May occur after direct or indirect contact with the allergen.

Diagnosis

How are spring eye allergies diagnosed?

Spring eye allergies often accompany other seasonal irritations such as nasal symptoms, an itchy or runny nose, and sneezing. While these factors are an indication that you may be suffering from seasonal eye allergies, a proper diagnosis is the first step towards relief.

Through a series of questions and specialized tests —which may include a microscope examination — your doctor will determine exactly what is causing your symptoms, and what the best treatment option is.

A close up of a person putting in eye drops.

Treatment & Prevention

How are spring eye allergies treated?

Certain over-the-counter eye drops, Rx eye drops and when needed OTC oral allergy medications work great to relieve uncomfortable symptoms such as red, itchy and watery eyes.

How can spring eye allergies be prevented?

As always, check with your doctor to rule out eye disease or other major conditions before you begin treatment for spring eye allergies. Once you’ve determined this is the cause for your irritation, here are some helpful hints to reduce your exposure.

Avoid the Outdoors

Try staying inside whenever the pollen count is extremely high.

Use Air Conditioning

In the mid-morning and early-evening, keep windows and doors closed to avoid pollen exposure, and use an air conditioner to get your fill of a spring breeze.

Invest in Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers can help keep humidity levels consistent, which reduces your exposure to mold and other irritants.

Use Allergen Covers

If dust is a trigger for you, try covering your bed with an allergen cover, and wash your bedding often in warm water.

Think you have spring eye allergies?