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Hay Fever & your Eyes

With pollen levels on the rise, the hay fever season has arrived again. Hay fever is a very common allergic condition, often causing runny noses and sore throats as well as frequent coughing or sneezing. It can also affect your eyes, making them red, itchy and swollen.

Top tips for managing Hay Fever

While there is no cure for hay fever, there are some self-help techniques you can use to help relieve its troublesome symptoms. Where possible, you should protect your eyes by minimizing exposure to pollen. Useful strategies include:

  • staying indoors at peak times,

  • keeping windows closed

  • wearing sunglasses outside - wraparound styles are particularly helpful

  • using eyewashes and artificial tear drops to flush out pollen particles

  • applying cold compresses to your closed eyelids to help reduce inflammation

  • avoiding rubbing your eyes to minimise inflammation and swelling

  • switching from contact lenses to spectacles if your eyes are badly affected

Anti-allergy eye drops

When pollen cannot be avoided, you can try some of the many anti-allergy eye drops available. Many can be bought over the counter at your local optometrist or pharmacist.

  • Mast cell stabilisers are a very effective preventative option if you know when you're likely to develop symptoms.

  • Anti-histamine eye drops offer fast-acting relief during acute episodes. However, as their effects tend to be short-lived, they may need instilled more frequently.

  • Combination eye drops combine the effects of mast-cell stabilisers and antihistamines. These are available on prescription only and are suitable for more severe cases,

Professional Advice

If you are suffering from hay fever symptoms, you don’t have to suffer in silence - consult your optometrist, pharmacist or GP for expert advice. Below is a handy infographic from the College of Optometrists summarising some useful tips on how to manage your eyes during the hay fever season.

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