The spring brings about many wonderful changes to the environment around us: flowers blooming, birds singing and grass growing to name a few. However, one of the unpleasant side effects to this lovely time of year is spring allergies. Many Americans struggle with annoying symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, coughing, headaches and itchy, watery eyes. About 30 percent to 50 percent of U.S. residents have allergy symptoms, and approximately 75 percent of these symptoms affect the eyes (Source: All About Vision).
Eye allergies often are hereditary and occur due to processes associated with other types of allergic responses. When an allergic reaction takes place, your eyes may be overreacting to a substance perceived as harmful, even though it may not be. These substances are called allergens.
So what causes eye allergies? Allergens are often in the air, some examples include pollen, mold, dust and pet dander. When these allergens come in contact with your eyes and nose, they cause an allergic reaction. Other causes of allergies, such as various foods or bee stings, often do not affect the eyes the way airborne allergens do.
To treat general eye allergies, focus on what is triggering the allergy. If you are experiencing itchy eyes, keep your home free of pet dander and dust and keep pets off the furniture. Stay inside with the air conditioner on when a lot of pollen is in the air. Also, invest in a high quality furnace filters that trap common allergens and replace the filters frequently. If spending time outside, make sure you wear wraparound sunglasses to help shield your eyes from allergens and drive with your windows closed during allergy season.