Reduce Pollen Exposure & Irritated Eyes This Season
The official start of Spring is when most New Englanders rejoice as they put away their snow shovels and rock salt until next Winter. This is a different story for allergy sufferers, however, as this shift represents the beginning of pollen season. From red, puffy, irritated eyes to more intense symptoms like trouble breathing, seasonal allergies add a level of complexity and discomfort to everyday life for those susceptible. There are certain steps that prescription contact lens wearers with allergies can take an order to reduce or even prevent eye irritation during this upcoming season. Follow these prescription contact lens care tips for your best chance at a clear and comfortable start to the Spring season.
Wash Your Hands, Face, Hair, & Sheets Often
Maintaining strict and effective personal hygiene is one of the best ways to control your contact lens allergies and limit your possible exposure to pollen, especially when you are sleeping. It’s more important now than ever to consistently and thoroughly wash your hands, but it’s also important that you wash your face at least one to two times per day, especially if you are spending a lot of time outside. Also, even though many people have developed their own personal weekly hair washing routine for their specific hair type, it would be best to wash your hair as regularly as possible to reduce pollen exposure this season. Combining this practice with a weekly wash of your sheets and pillowcases will prevent your bed from becoming a catch-all for pollen and other irritants. If you can maintain this level of hygiene and cleanliness during allergy season, you will likely prevent a great deal of discomfort this Spring and Summer.
Avoid Touching & Rubbing Your Eyes
Despite your new and improved hand-washing efforts, it’s important that you avoid touching and rubbing your eyes this season whether they are itchy or not. Touching your contact lenses runs a greater risk of irritation as well as spreading irritants to your lenses and inside your eyes. Having pollen, dirt, or other particulates on or under your lens will intensify the issue, keeping the contaminants trapped within your eye and leading to hours of exposure. The best course of action would be to lightly and gently dab at your eyes with a fresh clean cloth or a tissue for relief until you are able to treat the issue with eye drops.
Treat Discomfort With Eye Drops
No matter how badly you want to rub your eyes during Peak pollen season, the best course of action is to use eye drops as both relief and preventative care. Keep your eyes well-lubricated and healthy by clearing contaminants with high-quality eye drops that will reduce irritation and flush out any pollen or particulates stuck in your eye. Whether it is an allergy specific formula or general use eye drops, use them often to prevent the classic red puffy eye look that plagues most allergy sufferers.
Change Contact Solution More Frequently
Much like the additions to your hygiene and laundry routines, your contact care will also benefit from an uptick in frequency for this season. The current recommendation for changing your contact solution is once every 30 days, but shifting to a weekly or biweekly schedule will greatly reduce the amount of irritants that end up on your lenses as the solution gets more saturated with particulates. You could also consider switching to daily disposable contacts if allergies have really become a major problem in your life. You’ll have to weigh the slight price increase per contact versus the added convenience it will bring to your life. If you decide to stick with monthly or weekly contact lenses, washing your case and changing your solution is your best method for keeping your eyes safe and healthy.
Keep Your Bedroom Window Closed Overnight
One of the most important aspects of pollen allergy prevention is making sure that you’re not covered or surrounded by pollen particles while you sleep. Your body needs a full night of restful sleep to recover and your health will be impacted by pollen hanging around your room, bedding and pillows. Close your window at night to give yourself added comfort and security so that your body can get the chance it needs to recover and prepare you for the next day.
While pollen allergies are a nightmare for contact lens wearers, there are multiple actions and changes that you can take to reduce that puffy, itchy feeling and keep you from clutching your bottle of Zyrtec or Allegra while you sleep. If you follow these steps, your prescription contact lenses should stay clean and your eyes should remain clear and property lubricated. Contact your local eye care professional with any questions or concerns!
Sources Cited: American Optometric Association & VSP
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