Hay fever eyecare
Watery eyes, runny nose, constant sneezing – for many these are signs that summer is on the way and hay fever season has kicked in.
Starting as early as March in the UK, hay fever season continues throughout the summer, though depending on what you are allergic to you may only suffer from symptoms for a portion of that time.
But what exactly is hay fever?
Charlotte Wearmouth, Optometrist and Patrick & Menzies Partner, explained: “Hay fever is essentially an allergic reaction to pollen – mainly either from trees or grass. Usually, you will be exposed to the pollen by breathing it in. The body sees the pollen as something harmful, which triggers your immune system. A chemical called histamine is then released and this causes the blood vessels to widen alongside an increase in mucous production which will leave you feeling congested with a runny nose and watery eyes.
“Hay fever sufferers often find their eyes also become red and itchy with swelling or puffiness around the eyes caused by inflammation. Generally, if you are suffering from hay fever it will affect both of your eyes, not just one.”
Even if you haven’t grown up with hay fever, it’s something you can develop in adulthood. And, like other allergies, you can grow out of it too.
Over the counter treatments are usually the best course of action to combat hay fever symptoms. If you are particularly suffering with eye irritation antihistamine eye drops may ease the discomfort.
However, Charlotte warns: “If there is no improvement in your dry, itchy, red eyes after taking antihistamines for a week, then you should make an urgent appointment at your opticians to ensure you are not suffering from a different eye condition.”
Hay fever sufferers may benefit from reducing the amount of they wear contact lenses while experiencing symptoms, especially if using two-weekly or monthly contact lenses.
“This is because the contact lenses could accumulate allergens over time, and glasses may provide a barrier to protect your eyes from pollen in the air,” Charlotte explained.
Wearing sunglasses when outside can also help, again providing a barrier to protect your eyes from pollen in the air. You can check out our full range of sunglasses online.
We are here to look after your eyes, glasses, and contact lenses, with Covid-secure measures in place to keep everyone safe.