Ocular allergies can occur all year round, even in the fall. In fact, some types of allergy triggers, including dust, some types of pollen, smoke, and animal dander are often more prevalent this time of year. This can lead to irritation, soreness, infection, and other debilitating symptoms that can have a significant impact on your day to day life.
The best way to prevent ocular allergies from occurring is to try and avoid the triggers (allergens) that cause your allergy symptoms as much as possible. Where you can’t avoid them altogether, then wearing appropriate eye protection can also be beneficial.
We’ve put together the following helpful hints for preventing ocular allergies this fall.
Many of us touch our eyes without even realizing that we are doing so. Nevertheless, subconsciously, touching your eyes is bad for your general health as well as your allergies so trying to make a real effort to stop doing so can be instrumental in helping to keep ocular allergies at bay. This is because when we touch our eyes or the skin around them, we run the risk of transferring harmful microorganisms and allergens from our fingers to them. This can result in irritation, soreness, and even illness. You may be tempted to rub your eyes to try and stop the itching and irritation, but this can actually make the issue worse since rubbing them will trigger the release of more histamines, which exacerbate your allergy symptoms.
If you need to touch your eyes for any reason, such as to remove a foreign body or to place/remove contact lenses, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly both before and after doing so.
Mold, dust, and animal dander allergies that affect the eyes can be more prevalent in the fall due to us spending more time trapped indoors with the allergens. Ramping up your vacuuming and cleaning routine can help to reduce the number of allergens in the air around you, and as a result, you may see a definite improvement in your symptoms.
Artificial tears are as their name suggests – a man-made type of tear film that is often recommended for patients who experience a condition known as dry eyes. However, artificial tears can also be beneficial in preventing ocular allergies since using them can help to flush allergens out of your eyes during the course of the day when you may not be able to wash your face frequently. Check the label of the artificial tears that you choose, but most varieties can be used up to six times each day.
Many people who suffer from allergies regularly take antihistamines to counteract the symptoms that they experience, and eye allergies are no exception. Antihistamines fight the histamine release that is triggering your symptoms, keeping them under control. Your eye doctor will be able to advise you which antihistamines to take and provide you with a prescription. It’s important that you take these as directed.
If your eye allergy symptoms are severe, steroid medications can help to prevent or at least reduce them. However, since steroids must be carefully managed and their use closely monitored by a professional, you will need to ask your eye doctor whether or not you can benefit from this preventative treatment. If you are a good candidate, you must ensure that you take the medication exactly as prescribed.
Immunotherapy is usually the final line of preventative treatment for severe allergies or recommended where all of the other solutions have failed. Immunotherapy involves regular shots of a medication that keeps your immune system under control, preventing it from overreacting to allergens. Again, you will need to be evaluated to see if you are a suitable candidate for this treatment, and if you are approved, you should be expected to be closely monitored.
For more advice on how to prevent ocular allergies, don’t hesitate to speak to our knowledgeable eye care team in Bedford, IN.