If you are experiencing red eyes, itchy eyes or watery eyes it could be due to pollen-induced eye allergies. For many, spring is pollen season, marking the onset of uncomfortable symptoms such as itchy eyes, watery eyes or stinging, red eyes. Spring eye allergies are caused by the release of pollen from trees and flowers into the atmosphere and can greatly inhibit quality of life for those that experience them.
How can you defend your eyes this pollen season? Well the most obvious answer would be to decrease exposure to pollen by remaining indoors, particularly when the pollen count is high. Keeping windows closed, using air conditioning and putting on wrap-around sunglasses when going outside may also help to protect your eyes from irritants in the air. A HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter can be used filter irritants from the air inside your home or office.
Nevertheless, for the majority of us that can't stay indoors the entire spring season, there are medicines that can treat symptoms such as red eyes, watery eyes or itchy eyes. It's possible that a simple over-the-counter lubricating eye drop is sufficient to soothe and relieve itchy eyes or red eyes and remove allergens. Products containing antihistamines, decongestants or mast cell stabilizers are made to alleviate redness and swelling of the eyes and treat other symptoms such as congestion and sneezing. Eye drops are sometimes recommended because they can work better than oral solutions to treat eye symptoms.
Approximately 20% of the U.S. population, or 54 million people are affected by allergies, almost half of which are allergic eye disease. Eye allergies often run in families and are the result of a hyper-sensitivity to a substance in the eye regardless of whether is it harmful. The eyes then release histamines and other immune mediators which result in excessive tears, itching, burning, redness and irritation.
One of the most important things to remember is, don't rub red, itchy. Doing so will only exacerbate the irritation. Since often effective medications do need a prescription, if over-the-counter solutions are not working for you, see your eye doctor.