Dry eyes and itching, sneezing and sniffing; no one is going to argue that allergies are anything but miserable. What’s more, contact lenses can further aggravate the symptoms, by potentially trapping allergens under the lens. The result is redness and irritation that can make going about your day infinitely more unpleasant. How can we battle the allergies that can strike at any time during the year? By taking a three-pronged approach. The first step is to limit the body’s exposure to the germs, the second is to treat existing symptoms and the third is to minimize the affect contact lenses has on the allergies.
Prevent exposure to allergens:
It is wise to diminish the spread of pollen by removing jackets, shoes, etc. immediately upon entering the house. To remove dust mites, wash bedding in hot water on a weekly basis. Don’t let laundry air dry outdoors.
Remove excess moisture from the home to prevent mold, mildew, dust mites and more. Do not use humidifiers or vaporizers. Be aware that kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms are top areas where moisture lingers—consider installing exhaust fans in these areas. Additionally, you can place discreet moisture absorbers around the house: on top of shelving units…cabinets…etc. Specially designed products for this purpose can be purchased; but you may also get away with using baking soda. Vacuuming up the dust will play a large role in keeping you healthy, and it’s wise to use a HEPA filter on your cleaning equipment.
Treat allergy symptoms:
To relieve the feeling of having your sinuses backed up, use a neti pot to keep your nasal cavities clear of mucous and irritation. Moreover, take an anti-histamine to relieve the discomfort. Discuss using nasal sprays with your doctor. These sprays, taken once or twice daily, can reduce swelling and irritation caused by allergies.
Minimize aggravation of symptoms from contact lenses:
So how do you reduce the buildup of allergens underneath your contacts? Firstly, it’s crucial that you don’t wear your lenses overnight, even if they’re crafted for extended wear.
Look into single use daily-wear soft lens contacts like Acuvue TruEye, the best for reducing exposure to allergens—they also reduce protein buildup which can exacerbate allergy symptoms. Keep contacts as clean as possible. Look into cleaning products such as CIBA Vision’s Miraflow or Alcon’s Systane. Furthermore, find contacts that naturally lubricate, like Acuvue Moist.
Consider contact lenses made of silicone hydrogel (silicone not silicon…there are lenses made of both). Silicone will allow more oxygen to enter the eye and can reduce irritation.
Discuss your allergies with your eye doctor—it may be best to prescribe certain eye care products (drops or solutions) which can work better than over-the-counter products for you. The doctor can also determine if your eye irritation is a symptom of seasonal allergies, or a more specific ocular allergy.
Allergies can be dealt with—no need to feel miserable all the time. The best way to combat allergies is to reduce exposure to allergens. Consider what options you can implement in your home, what medications may be effective for you, and what contact lens care products would be best for you.