Do you suffer from allergies to dust, mold or pollen, leaving your eyes itchy and red? If you're a contact lens wearer, the way you insert, clean and wear your lenses may actually be making the problem worse. Allergens can become trapped behind your contact lenses, causing ongoing irritation. Whereas a person without contacts would be able to clear these allergens from the eyes with a little blinking or a few tears, your contacts keep you from doing so effectively. The allergens just linger there, continuing to make you miserable.
Luckily, you don't have to choose between wearing contacts and having clear eyes during allergy season. Here are a few tips to help calm your itching, irritated eyes.
Tip #1: Clean and replace your contact lenses more often.
This might mean removing and cleaning your lenses every 2 hours when it's pollen season. Surely, this is not too convenient, but if you really don't want to switch to glasses for the warm months, it might be the price you have to pay. Make sure you're replacing your contact as often as recommended. Switching to single-use contact lenses may help reduce your allergy symptoms even more.
Tip #2: Wash your hands thoroughly before placing your contacts in your eyes, and do so in an allergen-free environment.
If there are allergens on your hands when you put your contacts in, you risk introducing them to your eyes, where they'll stay for hours. Wash your hands thoroughly, and then seek out the cleanest environment possible before opening your contact case. If you're allergic to pollen, this could be a room in the interior of your home with no windows. If you're allergic to pet dander, it could be a room where you do not allow your dog or cat.
Tip #3: Take your contacts out immediately at the end of the day, and insert allergy-fighting eye drops.
As soon as you arrive home from work and can switch to glasses, do so. Then, apply allergy-fighting eye drops to soothe any lingering irritation. Typically, these eye drops cannot be used when you're wearing contacts, so following this routine allows you to utilize them. Over-the-counter eye drops are effective for many patients, but your doctor can prescribe a stronger prescription eye drop if needed.
By following the tips above, you can make wearing contacts a lot more comfortable during allergy season. Depending on the severity of your allergies, you may find that you still need to stick with glasses on the worst days. Talk to an eye doctor, like South Jersey Eye Physicians, if itchy, watery eyes continue to be a regular struggle in spite of following these tips.