Summer is here – avoid hayfever eyes
7 key steps to reducing the effect of hayfever on your eyes
We all look forward to the summer (however brief it might be) but some of you will have to put up with symptoms of hayfever which can be mildly annoying to completely debilitating.
Hayfever is simply an allergy to pollen which is released by plants and trees. Plants release pollen at different times during the season which is the reason that the effect on people can vary. Obviously the weather patterns can also affect this. Many of you will have noticed the sudden rise in pollen in early Spring when we had our (brief) hot spell.
- Tree pollen – released during spring
- Grass pollen – released during the end of spring and beginning of summer
- Weed pollen – released late autumn
The symptoms can vary between people but typically are:
- Frequent sneezing
- Runny or blocked nose
- Itchy, red or watery eyes (allergic conjunctivitis)
- An itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears
- A cough, caused by postnasal drip (mucus dripping down the throat from the back of the nose)
How to reduce the symptoms of hayfever
- Keep indoors and close windows. Not a great solution when you’ve been looking forward to the summer, but it is effective. Also, place any indoor plants away from common areas if you react to their pollen.
- Wash your face after coming inside. This helps by rinsing away any pollen that is still attached to your skin, nasal passages or eyes.
- Wear high quality sunglasses to protect your eyes. These act as a barrier to pollen and also protect your eyes from harmful UV radiation. Come and speak to one of our dispensing opticians about prescription sunglass options if you wear spectacles.
- Use appropriate eyedrops. These may be simple lubricants, like Thera Tears or Hycosan or more powerful drops, like Sodium Cromogylcate that try and treat the problem. If you are unsure, please come and see one of our expert optometrists.
- Contact lenses can still be worn in most cases, but wearers should come in and get expert advice. Some eyedrops are incompatible with contact lens wear and should be used with caution.
- Nasal sprays (cortico-steroids) – these can be especially helpful if your symptoms include sneezing and a runny nose.
- Tablets (anti-histamine) – these can help dampen down your body’s reaction to the allergy.