Summer in New York City is officially here, and unfortunately, that means summer allergies are in full swing. Eye allergies, sometimes called ocular allergies, are reactions to both indoor and outdoor allergens. And for some people, eye allergies can persist through the entire year, not just in the warmer months.
Here at Bainbridge Eye Care, Nicanor Lacsina, OD and Yelena Pinkhasova, OD, want you to know that itchy, watery eyes don’t have to be your status quo. As eye care specialists, we’re on a mission to help you have healthy eyes 一 and that includes helping you manage pesky eye allergies too!
In the meantime, continue reading to learn the best tips for avoiding your allergy triggers.
Know your allergy triggers
The first step 一 and arguably the most important 一 is to identify your particular allergy triggers. Common triggers include pet dander, grass, pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. All of these can cause both nasal and eye symptoms, and it’s not uncommon to experience both.
Nasal symptoms include sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. Ocular allergy symptoms include:
- Itchy watery eyes
- Red eyes
- Dry eyes
- Swollen eyelids
- Discomfort, such as burning or stinging
- Increased light
- Eye discharge, which can be sticky or watery
Allergy testing can determine your specific triggers so you can better avoid them.
How to avoid pollen
If you’re allergic to pollen, it’s hard to avoid, but you can limit your outside time on high pollen days. The Weather Channel breaks down the pollen tracks by different types of pollen, including ragweed, grass, and tree pollen. Depending on the season (and which type of pollen bothers you the most), you may find that your eye allergy symptoms ebb and flow with the seasons.
You can further reduce exposure by:
- Shutting your windows on high pollen days
- Vacuuming your window screens at least once per season
- Removing your shoes when you come home (to prevent tracking pollen throughout your house)
- Wiping down your dog after walks as pollen can stick to their coats and paws
- Vacuuming your floors
- Adding a whole-house filter to your HVAC system
If you live in a condo or apartment and make adjustments to your HVAC system, even a portable air filter can make a big difference in the air quality of your home.
How to avoid dust mites
Dust mites are another common trigger for both nasal and eye allergies. While dust is inevitable, you can help manage your allergies by keeping the dust at bay. Dust regularly, vacuum carpeted areas and hardwood surfaces, use anti-dust mite pillow cases and mattress protectors, and wash your bedding weekly.
How to avoid pet dander
Pet dander is another common allergy, and luckily, there are a few ways to keep the dander under control. Bathe, brush, and groom pets regularly. If possible, don’t let your pet into your bedroom or on your bed, and keep an air purifier in your bedroom as well.
Protect your eyes
Even with your best efforts, it’s not always possible to avoid your triggers with a 100% certainty. In these cases, it’s important to protect your eyes. For example, wearing sunglasses outside can help act as another barrier for your eyes.
If you wear contact lenses, know that the moist surface of your contacts can collect allergens, like dust. For this reason, avoid rubbing your eyes with your contacts in place. Touching your contact lenses or rubbing your eyes can force allergens into your eyes and exacerbate your symptoms.
When removing or inserting your contact lenses, always wash your hands first and follow the proper cleaning and sterilizing instructions for your specific type of contacts.
Seek allergy care for your ocular allergies
Still struggling with itchy, watery eyes? You don't have to suffer through a season of allergies without any help. With over 20 years of experience serving the Bronx, New York, population, our team knows firsthand how eye allergies can be nothing less than miserable.
Our team is well-versed in every aspect of treating eye allergies from your initial diagnosis to the management and advanced treatment of ocular allergies. Depending on your needs, we may recommend prescription steroid eye drops, antihistamines, decongestants, and over-the-counter artificial tears. And if these treatments aren’t enough to alleviate your symptoms, you might benefit from allergy shots.
To get started with allergy relief, call us at 718-306-9142 or request an appointment online.