Watery and itchy eyes? Stuffy nose? Can’t stop sneezing? Welcome to Spring and Summer! Spring in Wisconsin is every season possible rolled into one week. If you do not like the weather, wait five minutes, it will change. Just a few short weeks ago I was looking out of my office window at a beautiful snow storm. Last week it was almost 80 degrees and today it’s rain all day. Whether hot or cold, the only thing that we know for sure is that Spring does bring with it a generous dose of allergies.
Do you wear contact lenses? If so there is even more to think about. The good news is that there are lots of options that can make you feel better quickly. Come back next week to read our next post on contact lens options for more information about types, modalities and options for contact lenses that are best for you.
We, at Theia Vision Care, have terrific tools available to keep your eyes, happy, healthy and not only to mange allergies but to decrease the allergic response over time.
Here are some things you can do to help alleviate itchy eyes:
- Purchase the CORRECT Eye drops
- The most effective option is a prescription from your eye doctor. The prescription options have the highest concentration for medicine, longest duration of action and often, least side effects, such as stinging. There are also effective over the counter options for which you do NOT need a prescription. Ask us about the right choice for you.
- Last time I went to a drug store there was literally a wall of eye drops to choose from. It is purposely made to be very overwhelming and very confusing. Generic options come in boxes that have the same look and color as the brand names. Drug stores display their merchandise in specific ways to get you to buy. The products themselves have words like “Red eyes!” or even “Allergy Relief!” to get your attention…. And the list goes on. It is confusing, by design, so you have to know what to look for. Specifically, the antihistamine (anti-itchy stuff) ingredient you are looking for is called ketotifen. Look on the list of ingredients on the back of the bottle or box and this should be at the top. If it is not, PUT THAT PRODUCT BACK. There are vasoconstrictors and other eye drop options out there, that do not get to the problem, or worse, cause the eyes additional irritation. Although they may provide some temporary relief, and even decrease the look of redness, SHORT TERM, in the long term they may even cause rebound redness and make the eyes feel and look worse. Ask your eye doctor for the best solutions for you.
- Preservative Free Artificial Tears! This unicorn magic is amazing! They come in individual vials, which means no preservative is needed for a one-time use. This, in turn, allows the eye drop to be the most gentle, which is imperative for an eye that is already sensitive due to an allergic reaction. They provide extra moisture to help the eye continue to flush out allergies. In fact, when the oral anti-histamines dry out your system, including the eyes, allergens are more prone to stick around. Therefore, oral anti-histamines may actually may make ocular allergies worse (Gasp!). Use those preservative free artificial tears. They may even be ok to use with your daily contact lenses. Magic!
- When my best friend’s oldest son was two years old he would ask for food from the feee-frigerator. Hey, refrigerator is a tricky word. But it sure is awesome for keeping things cold, especially those eye drops. Here is a nifty trick. Put all of the eye-drops you use in the feee-frigerator (or if you prefer refrigerator). The coolness will provide immediate relief, by shrinking those irritated blood vessels, which will not only feel good, but relieve redness. Cool! (See what I did there).
- Based on your individual eye health, consult your eye doctor about the appropriate contact lens modality for you AND contact lens care and wear and cleaning instructions.
- We love Dailies!
- NEVER, EVER, like EVER (thanks Taylor Swift) sleep in your contact lenses.
- Unless you have been given very specific instructions by your eye care professional
- Consider your lifestyle. Here are some simple steps you can take to minimize that allergen exposure. Specifically:
- Leave your shoes outside of your door or, next to the door. Do not wear outside shoes inside the house.
- Leave your coat by the door. In fact, change when you get home into different, clean clothes.
- Shower and wash your face before going to bed.
- Do not touch your face, or at least, wash your hands prior to touching your face.
- Wash your hands, wash your hands and wash your hands.
- Avoid known allergens.
- Stay in-doors, avoid outside exercise during high allergen times when noted by your local weather report.
- Consider a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, which meets certain industry standards to purify air of 99.97% of large particles. Also, consider anti-allergen bedding, and replacing your bedding as needed to minimize allergens such as dust mites.
- For more specific information, consult an allergist for allergy testing. He or she may be able to test you for a list of the most common allergens in your area, and advise on your best treatment options, specific to your particular case.
Don’t let allergies and itchy eyes derail your summer and spring fun. We can help you feel better ASAP so call 262-361-0022 for an appointment! And don’t forget to cover those beautiful eyes with some gorgeous sunglasses! We’ve got you covered there too! (See what I did there again)!