As many as one in three people are affected by seasonal eye allergies, and this may be getting worse due to global warming and climate change. "There is definitely some data that makes it look like this is possible," says Kirstin D. Carel, MD, an associate professor in the department of Pediatrics at National Jewish Health in Denver, Colo. "There is concern that warmer temperatires will lead to more robust pollen exposures in terms of time and the amount of pollen released."
There are many ways to keep eye allergies at bay, she says. "Get your nasal allergies under control and your eyes will follow," Carel says. "I recommend using a nasal wash such as neti pot throughout the day and taking an antihistamine as well," she says.
Also, keep your home and car windows shut during pollen seasons.
Eye drops can also help relieve eye allergies, she says. They are available over the counter or by prescription. "It's hit and miss," she says. "If you don't respond to one, try another."
Eye allergies are of special concern for people who have vision problems. They often keep people with vision problems from enjoying daily activities, affect their appearance, and even impact their performance at work, at school, and during sports, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care.
"Allergy season is particularly challenging for some contact lens wearers because allergens and other irritants can build up on contacts over time, leading to discomfort and symptoms such as itching, tearing and redness," adds Lexington, Kentucky-based optometrist Paul Karpecki, OD, FAAO.
For allergy sufferers who want to wear or remain in contacts, he recommends daily disposable lenses. "The healthiest and most comfortable contact lens option for any eye allergy sufferer is a daily disposable lens, such as 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses," Karpecki says. "Putting a clean, fresh lens into the eye each day minimizes the potential for the buildup of irritants that occur with repeated use of the same pair of lenses."
For more information about eye allergies, visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America for a free educational brochure titled "Eye Health and Allergies." The brochure, along with a free trial-pair certificate* for 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses is also available at www.acuvue.com/seasons
--Additional reporting by Denise Mann
Wendy Lewis is President of Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd Global Aesthetics Consultancy, author of 11 books and Founder/Editor in Chief of http://www.beautyinthebag.com.
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