Hay Fever: Tips and Test
What Causes Hay Fever?
Many allergens are in the air, where they come in contact with your eyes and nose. Airborne allergens include pollen, mould, dust and pet dander.
Other causes of allergies, such as certain foods or bee stings, do not typically affect the eyes the way airborne allergens do. Adverse reactions to certain cosmetics or drugs such as antibiotic eye drops also may cause eye allergies.
Some people actually are allergic to the preservatives in eye drops such as those used to lubricate dry eyes. There are now a wide range of preservative-free brands in unit (single) dose, novel multi-dose bottles and even sprays.
Summertime Eye Allergy Tips
- Get an early start. See your optometrist before allergy symptoms start this year to learn how to reduce your sensitivity to allergens.
- Try to avoid what’s causing your eye allergies, whenever possible.
- Don’t rub your eyes if they itch! This will release more histamine and make your eye allergy symptoms worse.
- Use plenty of artificial tears to wash airborne allergens from your eyes. Ask your optometrist what they recommend.
- Reduce contact lens wear or switch to daily disposable lenses to reduce the build-up of allergens on your lenses.
- Consider purchasing an air purifier for your home, and purchase an allergen-trapping filter for your furnace.
QUIZ – Hay fever, Eye Allergies Self-Test
Take this quiz to see if you might have eye allergies. Always consult your optometrist / general practitioner if you suspect you have an eye condition needing care.
- Do your eyes often itch, particularly during spring pollen season?
- Are you allergic to certain animals, such as cats?
- Have you ever been diagnosed with “pink eye” (conjunctivitis)?
- Do allergies run in your family?
- Do or have you ever used antihistamines and/or decongestants to control sneezing, coughing and congestion?
- When pollen is in the air, are your eyes less red and itchy when you stay indoors under an air conditioner?
- Do your eyes begin tearing when you wear certain cosmetics or lotions, or when you’re around certain strong perfumes?
If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, then you may have eye allergies.