All those beautiful spring blooms we’re seeing everywhere also mean that pollens and allergens are making their comeback, too. Tree pollens have kicked into gear, with grass and weed pollens ramping up. We all know that East Tennessee is a hotbed for seasonal allergies. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation ranked Knoxville as #9 on the “most challenging places to live with spring allergies.”
While some of us suffer from sneezing, congestion, and runny noses, many of us also have varying degrees of eye discomfort thanks to allergies. Symptoms include:
- Red, irritated eyes
- Watery or teary eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Burning or painful eyes
- Sensitivity to light
While we can’t control allergens in the outdoors, there are some steps we can take to minimize the effects on our eyes. For example, you can follow a website such as accuweather.com, and on days when the pollen count is high try to stay indoors as much as possible. Use your air conditioner to filter the air, and be sure to use high-quality allergen-trapping filters for your heating and cooling system. Check and replace the filters as instructed by the manufacturer.
When you need to be outdoors, wear wraparound sunglasses so your eyes are exposed to fewer airborne allergens, and drive with your windows closed.
Contact lenses can aggravate eye problems during allergy season. Airborne allergens can accumulate on the surface of contact lenses, so be sure to remove and clean them daily. You may also want to consider switching to daily disposable contact lenses, or wearing your eyeglasses more during allergy season.
There are several brands of over-the-counter eye drops that are formulated to relieve eye discomfort from allergies, and your eye doctor can recommend a brand based on your symptoms. If over-the-counter eye drops don’t provide relief, your eye doctor may recommend prescription eye drops or oral medications.
Avoid rubbing your eyes if they itch. Rubbing your eyes will release more histamine which will make your allergy symptoms worse.
Gently cleanse your eyelids and eyelashes after being outdoors and before bed to remove any pollen that could cause irritation while you sleep.
Now’s the time to get a plan in place for protecting your eyes during the spring, summer, and fall allergy seasons. Talk to one of our doctors about symptoms you’ve experienced in the past, and what to do if new symptoms occur this allergy season.
East Tennessee Eye Surgeons specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of both common and complex eye diseases. With two locations at 7800 Conner Road in Powell and 744 Middle Creek Road, Suite 200 in Sevierville, East Tennessee Eye Surgeons delivers the highest quality eye care in an exceptional setting. Visit our website to learn more about us, or call us at 865-546-1464 (Powell) or 865-908-7008 (Sevierville).