The dog days of summer are finally over. Leaves and foliage begin to change their colors, temperatures start to cool, and pumpkin spice everything is everywhere.
Yes, fall is in the air again … but so are all the allergens that, like clockwork, can cause your chronic, itchy eyes to flare up this time of year. If you’ve been a sufferer of seasonal allergies and itchy eyes, they don’t have to put a damper on your enjoyment of autumn and all the beauty it brings. Instead, read on for some helpful tips and tricks to put a damper on those itchy eyes and all the allergy symptoms that fall brings.
Determine the Cause
The first step in managing itchy eyes is to identify the cause. Allergies are the most common reason for itchy eyes. During fall, pollen from ragweed — which starts growing during late summer in August — is released into the air, which can cause an allergic reaction to sensitive people who come in contact with it. Mold also builds up in fallen leaves, which can also cause allergic reactions when their spores are kicked up into the air. Or, your symptoms may simply be on account of dry eyes.
Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes
Resist the temptation! While rubbing your eyes may provide temporary relief from any itching, it can worsen your symptoms. When you rub your eyes each time they become itchy (which can happen several times a day during fall if you’re outside), it can further release the inflammatory chemicals found in the allergens; plus, it can mean pushing bacteria and/or debris further into your eyes.
Use a Cold Compress
A cold compress can help alleviate itchy eyes and lessen your discomfort, if only temporarily since it can reduce any swelling or eye inflammation by shrinking irritated tissues. Simply wet a washcloth with cold water and place it over your closed eyes for a few minutes. Be sure to use a clean washcloth each time you do this to avoid introducing bacteria into your eyes.
Wear Glasses Instead of Contact Lenses
Contact lenses may be convenient, but they can exacerbate your itchy eyes. That’s because they can trap allergens already in your eyes, and further build up under the lenses, creating more itchiness. Wearing eyeglasses is a better seasonal alternative to contact lenses, but if you must, opt for daily disposables that can be discarded for a fresh pair each day. Likewise, wear sunglasses with wraparound frames to provide maximum protection from allergens and UV rays alike.
Keep Your Eyes Moisturized
Whether your itchiness is on account of allergies or just dryness, moisturizing eye drops can counteract the effects of dry eyes by lubricating the eye and helping reduce inflammation. There are many over-the-counter eye drops available, but it’s important to choose a product appropriate for your specific symptoms. For example, if you have allergies, look for an antihistamine eye drop that contains moisturizing properties. In addition to drops, you can also use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially if you live in a dry climate.
Avoid and Combat Allergens
If you know what triggers your allergies, try to avoid those allergens as much as possible. For example, if you’re allergic to ragweed, try to stay indoors on days when the pollen count is high. Refer to the National Allergy Map on Pollen.com for your particular region’s allergy levels and pollen count forecasts. Remember that allergens aren’t always outdoors and can be carried inside. So, if you have allergies, it’s important to keep your environment clean to reduce the amount of allergens in the air. Vacuum your carpets and upholstery frequently, and use an air purifier to remove allergens from the air.
See an Eye Doctor
If you’re not sure what’s causing your itchy eyes, it’s best to see an eye doctor who can diagnose the issue and provide appropriate treatment. They can help to identify the cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment. In some cases, itchy eyes can be a sign of a more serious condition, such as an eye infection or an autoimmune disorder.
Don’t surrender to itchy eyes or let them get the better of your enjoyment of the beauty that surrounds us in the fall. Complete Eye Care of Medina can help diagnose and treat your seasonal allergies so itchy eyes are gone in a blink of an eye.
Contact us today to set up an appointment.