If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For some, spring time is pollen season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are largely due to an influx of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can cause a severe impact on everyday functioning for those that suffer from them.
How can you defend your eyes this allergy season? Whenever possible reduce exposure to pollen which means staying inside, particularly on days with a high pollen count. Closing windows, cooling off with air conditioners and wearing full-coverage sunglasses when exposed to the elements can also help to protect your eyes from allergens in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is also an effective way to remove particles from the air inside your home or office.
Nevertheless, for the majority of us that must go outside, there are medicines that can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. Often times a basic rewetting drop is sufficient to moisturize and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and cleanse the eye of irritants. Medicines containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to reduce irritation of the eyes as well as other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral medications to alleviate eye problems.
Approximately 20% of the U.S. population, or 54 million people suffer from allergies, nearly 50% of which are eye allergies. Eye allergies often run in families and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to an irritant that has entered the eye even when it is not necessarily harmful. The eyes then release histamines and other immune mediators which cause excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
If you are suffering from irritated, watery eyes, don't rub them. Doing so will only exacerbate the irritation. Since some of the products that work to alleviate symptoms do require a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions do not help, see your eye doctor.