This is part 4 of a 4-part series written by Johnson Optometric Associates, specifically focusing on seasonal allergies that affect our patient base in Wake County, North Carolina. This post will zero in on contact lens wearers and seasonal allergies.
First and foremost – if you suffer from seasonal eye conjunctivitis, limiting the hours spent wearing contacts may help relieve your symptoms. Contact lenses provide a surface that allergens can adhere to and create discomfort resulting in watery, red, swollen, itchy and burning eyes.
During allergy season, ensure that you are inserting a fresh, pollen-free lens each day. Allergens and histamines can sometimes become attached to the lens and are difficult to remove. If daily lenses aren’t available in your prescription, review your contact lens solution and care regimen with Johnson Optometric Associates.
For those who have more moderate to severe allergies, the best course of action may be to discontinue contact use until your symptoms have subsided. In some cases, you may need to take a mast cell stabilizer/antihistamine eye drop prior to inserting your lenses and after you take them out.
Using a rewetting eye drop 4-6 times a day to flush allergens from the eye can also be very effective. Stay away from products such as Visine or Cleareyes, which are vasoconstrictors. They reduce blood flow to the white part of your eye, which is not healthy.
Allergies are one of the leading causes of chronic disease in the United States, affecting approximately 30 percent of the population (Bielory, 2002). There are almost 40 million contact lens wearers in the United States (Nichols, 2009) and therefore, approximately 12 million contact lens-wearing patients who may suffer from allergies.
If you are a contact lens wearer suffering from seasonal eye allergies and would like to learn more about relieving your symptoms, please don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with Johnson Optometric Associates.