LENSES AND SEASONAL ALLERGIES
Linda M. sat in my exam chair and vented: “I’m so frustrated,” she exclaimed one day to me, “I am used to wearing my contacts the whole time I’m awake, but now have days I can hardly stand them for a couple of hours!” She had been wearing contacts for over 10 years without any difficulty. In the last 2 years she has started to have itchy, irritated eyes during the late spring and summer
months. This is not an uncommon problem as allergies can arise at any time even for those who have never shown symptoms before.
1) A recent survey found that approximately out of 38 million contact lens wearers, 54% find it very uncomfortable to wear their lenses due to allergies.
2) ALLERGIES ARE THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR CONTACT LENS DROPOUTS!
3) Oral antihistamines may help with sneezing and runny noses but can make eye symptoms worse by interfering with tear production and causing dry eyes
1) SEE YOUR EYE DOCTOR…don’t assume that nothing can be done to alleviate your symptoms. Professional
recommendations and specific meds can help you to keep wearing your contacts.
2) Consider switching to daily disposable contacts vs the ones you wear for an extended period of time. Allergens can cling to the material even with scrupulous cleaning and care.
3) Use goggles or remove contacts when outside during high pollen days. Shower after being outside and flush eyebrows, eyelashes, and hair of any allergens.
4) Reduce your contact wear during heavy allergy times… 6-7 hours, for example, vs. 12 hours a day.
5) Stay away from vasoconstrictor drops that mask redness. They reduce blood flow to the white part of the eyes which is not the most optimal choice for eye health.
Don’t let seasonal allergies turn your summer into a “no contact lens zone.” With some adjustments it is likely that you can enjoy your summer with your contacts in!