Many people look forward to the rising temperatures after a long winter season and for good reason! However, for millions of people worldwide, this time of year can be particularly hard on the eyes, leaving them red, itchy, and watery. Yes, it’s that time of year where seasonal allergies come into play, resulting in bothersome and discomforting symptoms. While seasonal allergies are notoriously known for causing constant sneezing and sniffling, they can also affect a person’s eye health. Many people who have seasonal allergies will experience swelling, redness, itching, or watering of the eye.
Since so many people are affected by seasonal allergies every year, eye care professionals may be seeing an increase in patients during allergy season who are seeking relief from uncomfortable and often painful symptoms. This post will take a closer look at how seasonal allergies affect the eyes and how eye care professionals can help patients achieve and maintain comfort and relief throughout the triggering seasons.
Seasonal Allergies and Eyes
There are plenty of year-round allergens that can cause eyes to water or become irritated, such as pet dander and dust. Seasonal allergies, however, typically cause flare-ups twice a year. Spring is the most common time in which people experience seasonal allergy symptoms. This is because pollen is released from grass, plants, and trees. As pollen or other seasonal allergens are inhaled or encounter the eyes, the immune system can mistake the allergens as being dangerous and therefore release antibodies to attack the threat. This leads to the release of histamines in the blood, which can then cause symptoms that directly affect the health of the eyes.
Depending on how their bodies react to allergens, eye care professionals may find that their patients are experiencing eye-related symptoms such as redness, itchiness, burning, blurred vision and excessive tearing during allergy season. Additional symptoms could include contact lens discomfort, swollen eyelids, and a scratchy or gritty feeling on the surface of the eyes. Patients are also susceptible to adverse side effects from decongestants, which can cause sinuses and eyes to dry out, making them even more vulnerable to airborne allergens.
Helping Patients Overcome Seasonal Allergies
When patients experience significant eye irritation, a thorough eye exam is recommended. If seasonal allergies are suspected to be the cause of eye discomfort, eye care professionals can recommend the following solutions to their patients to fight seasonal allergies and ensure that symptoms are properly managed.
The Use of Artificial Tears
Seasonal allergies can cause eyes to become incredibly dry and irritated. Artificial tears can be extremely helpful when it comes to managing seasonal allergies and are used to enhance the three layers of the tear film when natural tears are lacking. They can help clear away allergens from the eye to help reduce irritation. Preservative-free artificial tears may be recommended by an eye care professional to ensure the eyes stay lubricated and protected from harmful allergens.
I-MED Pharma offers a wide selection of viscoadaptive, preservative-free hyaluronan-based eye drops that effectively and quickly help to relieve dry eye symptoms. These long-lasting artificial tears not only enhance the three natural layers of the tear film, but they are also highly effective at hydrating and lubricating the cornea while reducing tear film evaporation, which helps combat the symptoms caused by seasonal allergies.
Focusing On Ocular Hygiene
Maintaining an ocular hygiene routine is equally important to maintain optimal ocular health, even more so during allergy season. Eyelids and eyelashes help trap allergens, debris, and other particles, preventing them from getting onto the surface of the eye and causing the immune system to overreact. Because the eyelids and eyelashes catch these allergens, it’s important for patients to get into the habit of properly cleansing the eye area to avoid the chance of developing irritation, itchiness, or other symptoms that come from seasonal allergies.
I-MED Pharma’s line of I-LID ’N LASH® ocular hygiene cleansers is designed to help patients effectively remove ocular debris from the lids and lashes. These lid and lash cleansers contain sodium hyaluronate for an effective cleanse that is gentle on the eyes. These products should be used daily and can help increase the effectiveness of I-MED Pharma’s viscoadaptive artificial tear drops.
Taking Allergy Medications
While it’s true that over the counter and prescription allergy medications can provide short- and long-term relief for some eye allergy symptoms, it’s important to remember that taking oral antihistamines can have side effects that cause dry eyes, which can make seasonal allergy symptoms worse. It’s important for anyone taking antihistamines to drink plenty of water and keep their eyes moisturized and lubricated with a high-quality, preservative-free artificial tear.
Now that allergy season is upon us, eye care professionals need to have the right solutions available for patients who experience eye discomfort and irritation.
I-MED Pharma offers best-in-class solutions to help eye care professionals better diagnose and manage discomforting symptoms related to dry eye disease.