Allergies can affect your body in many different ways, including your eyes. Essentially, when your body encounters an allergen, like pollen, it produces a chemical called histamine.
This chemical will trigger inflammation, causing swelling and itchiness. This inflammation can make an existing dry eye problem even worse.
As the eyes become inflamed, so do the tear-producing glands. When your eyes produce fewer tears, they can become more inflamed, creating a negative loop.
As spring approaches, it is time to get ready to defend yourself against pollen and other allergens. Keep reading to learn four ways to improve dry eye symptoms this allergy season!
1. Use Artificial Tears
When your eyes are itchy, it can be very tempting to rub them. Not only will this not help in the long run, but it can also make the problem worse.
Rubbing your eyes may cause more swelling and irritation. Instead, reach for some over-the-counter eye drops.
Artificial tears provide the moisture that your eyes need so they can stay hydrated and lubricated. You can use them as needed throughout the day, or your eye doctor may recommend using them consistently at certain times.
Just be sure to talk with your eye doctor to make sure you get the kind of eye drops that will work best for you.
2. Improve Your Home’s Air Quality
While you can’t control the pollen count outside, you can take steps in your house. First of all, try to keep your windows closed, especially during high pollen counts.
Wipe down the surfaces in your home regularly with a damp cloth. This will remove the pollen without dusting it back into the air.
You can also invest in an air purifier to actively filter the air in your home.
Finally, a simple humidifier can go a long way. Dry air can directly sap the moisture out of your eyes.
Adding moisture into the air will help with dry eye symptoms. Avoid sitting directly next to fans or air conditioning units, as well.
3. Wear Wrap-Around Sunglasses
Sunglasses are a great accessory to have while outdoors. They protect your vision from the sun, which can have adverse effects over time.
If you get sunglasses that hug close to your face, they can even shield your eyes from pollen. Just be sure to get sunglasses that are 100% protected from UV.
Wearing sunglasses that do not filter out ultraviolet light is more dangerous than not wearing them at all.
4. Practice Good Hygiene
Pollen, dust, and other allergens tend to cling to clothes and skin. Take extra care to keep yourself and your surroundings clean during high pollen counts.
Avoid touching your face and eyes as much as possible. Wash your hands frequently and clean your eyelids regularly to avoid allergies and bacterial infections.
If you wear makeup, be sure to remove all of it before you go to sleep.
Dry eye can ruin entire seasons for people. Don’t let that happen to you this year.
Are you experiencing symptoms of dry eye? Schedule an appointment at Chicago Cornea Consultants in Highland Park, IL, today to learn more about your own eyes, as well as dry eye in general.