Spring Allergies and Eye Health

Phoenix_OptometryWhile most of us are happy that spring has arrived in Phoenix, spring brings with it a new eye health problem for millions of people: seasonal allergies. The blooms spring bring pollen… and therefore allergies.

The cause of allergies is easy enough to understand – allergy sufferers simply have over-active immune systems. When spring pollens hit, the defense mechanisms in your eyes, nose, and throat mistake it for a threat and start working to expel the “invader.” A runny nose and watery eyes is your body’s way of flushing out the system.

Unfortunately, the process isn’t exactly fun for allergy sufferers, and even potentially carries mild threats to your eye health.

Don’t Rub Those Itchy Eyes!

While it’s tempting, you and your family should try to not rub your eyes too often when suffering from seasonal allergies. The fine particles that fill the spring air can cause microabrasions – tiny tears – on your cornea which can build up over time, contributing to cataracts and other vision problems later in life.

Further, it’s easy to mistake common eye diseases for allergies, especially if you’re expecting spring allergies anyway.  If someone has an eye disease, rubbing their eyes just makes it easier for the disease to infect others. (I think we all know how quickly a pinkeye epidemic can spread!)

Treat Allergies Early And Often

For most people, standard over-the-counter antihistamines are all that are needed to keep seasonal allergies in check. Just remember that a person’s body can and will develop a tolerance to these allergy medications. Try rotating the antihistamines you use every now and then.

Allergies don’t have to be a threat to your eye health at all, as long as you take proper care of your eyes during allergy season!

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