Allergy Season and Contact Lenses: How to Manage

For contact lens wearers, allergy season is one of the worst times of the year. Approximately 75% of allergy-related symptoms affect the eyes, and for a person who frequently wears contact lenses, these symptoms can be difficult to deal with.

From red eyes to itchiness to even dry eyes, these symptoms create a less than optimal environment for your contact lenses to exist comfortably. You may find yourself tempted to ditch your contact lenses and don a pair of glasses; however, there are plenty of ways to avoid a majority of allergy-related symptoms. Here’s what to know about how to manage your symptoms.

How to Relieve Allergy-Related Symptoms

The first step in relieving your symptoms is identifying the cause of your allergies. Maybe you came into contact with a pet or went outside during a period of high pollen count. Avoiding these symptoms is as easy as removing the cause. You can limit your time around pets or reduce your time spent outdoors. However, not all allergens are so easily avoided, so you should start by managing your allergies by taking antihistamines and meeting with your doctor.

After identifying the causes, make sure to take basic precautions in your daily life. You should wash your hands whenever possible. Often, when we touch a surface, allergens remain on our hands and can cause a reaction when we rub our eyes or simply touch our faces. This brings allergens into direct contact with the airway passages and causes allergies. Be sure to wash clothing and other cloth materials frequently since this completely sanitizes them and removes any allergens that they may have collected. When drying these materials, place them in the dryer rather than outside because while outside, they may collect more allergens.

In addition to washing, you can also take prevention a step further and install HEPA filters within your air conditioning system. Regular vacuuming can greatly aid in preventing the build-up of allergens within your home. Although prevention is not a definite way to avoid allergies, it does help reduce your symptoms by limiting your exposure.

Contact Lenses and Allergies

If you wear contact lenses and struggle with allergies, it can be uncomfortable. The most important thing to remember is to not rub your eyes, since this causes irritation. The moist nature of your contact lenses naturally attracts allergens such as dust or pollen and, by rubbing your eyes, you can cause the allergens to enter even deeper.

Allergens can also build up on your contact lenses over time. If you’re planning to wear your lenses for a long time, be sure to practice proper lens care. This includes regular disinfecting and moisturizing. Sometimes, proper lens care might not be enough for individuals with severe allergic reactions. If this sounds like you, try using daily disposable lenses instead of long-term lenses. Although they may be slightly more costly, they can relieve your symptoms and reduce the amount of care needed.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about managing allergies with contact lenses, we invite you to meet with our team and discuss your options. Contact our office by calling or filling out our online form to get started.

Dry Eye Syndrome: What to Know

One of the most common eye problems patients will visit their eye doctors for is dry eye syndrome. This is characterized by a chronic dryness of the eyes. People with this condition need more than just eye moisturizing drops to relieve the dryness in their eyes. Dry eye syndrome, also known as dysfunctional tear syndrome, is caused by low tear production of the tear glands or the poor quality of tears.

Risk Factors

Some people are more likely to develop dry eyes than others. Females over forty, aging men, and people who work with computers for long hours at a time are the most susceptible to developing it. For females, dry eyes might become a problem after the age of forty due to hormonal changes. These fluctuations in hormones that were once fairly balanced might disrupt the production and quality of tears. For older men, dry eyes might develop simply because of the aging process, which might cause deterioration of the eyes in general, including the activity of the tear glands.

Other Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome

There might be other reasons for chronic dry eyes, and these include, but are not limited to:

  • Hypersensitivity to air conditioning, air heating systems, and ceiling fans.
  • Wearing contact lenses. Some people choose to stop wearing them because of this persistent issue.
  • Windy or dry outside environments.
  • Smoking.
  • Medications. These might include prescriptions and over-the-counter medications like antihistamines, blood pressure medications, birth control pills, and antidepressants, among others.
  • Health problems like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Sjogren’s syndrome might cause chronic eye dryness.

Symptoms

Symptoms of dry eyes, other than the dryness itself, might include burning sensations and aching sensations in the eyes, as well as sensations of fatigue and heaviness. Eyes might become sore and itchy, which can invite frequent rubbing of the eyes. However, this only exacerbates the problem and cause blurry vision. Photophobia, which is a sensitivity or intolerance to light, might develop and this might cause constant squinting. Those with photophobia might also experience headaches often.

Testing for Dry Eyes

If you think that you might have chronic dry eye syndrome, a test can be performed to verify it. We have to be sure that your condition is actually a case of dry eye syndrome and not just symptoms of hay fever or other common irritations to the eye. After an eye examination to confirm it’s a case of dry eye syndrome, prescription eye medications may be needed to treat the symptoms.

Treatments

Along with prescription eye medication, certain behavior modifications might also be recommended, including limiting the use of screen time at computers or other devices with bright light displays. There are also in-office treatments that can be performed that will stimulate normal tear production and relieve dryness of the eyes and the symptoms that come with it significantly.

Schedule a Consultation

At Campus Eye Group in New Jersey, the problem of dry eye syndrome is solved with the most effective treatments in our state-of-the-art facility operated by experienced, professional staff. Schedule your consultation with us today and get the relief you have been looking for.