Allergies Can Mean Misery for Contact Lens Wearers

From ALLtech vision provider VSP Vision Care Inc.

For many, spring is a time of renewed energy, more time outside, and flowers coming into full bloom. But, if you are one of the more than 50 million people in the U.S. who experience allergies each year, spring can also mean a time of misery thanks to sneezing, runny noses, and eye irritation.

If you’re also a contact lens wearer, spring can be especially miserable for you and your eyes.

That’s because contact lenses can actually attract airborne allergens, which may bind to the surface of the lens, increasing eye discomfort for some allergy sufferers. Forty percent of contact lens wearers report itchy eyes due to allergies, taking the spring out of their step and making the season less enjoyable.

In addition to causing itchy eyes, allergies can also:

  • Cause allergic conjunctivitis (pink eye), leading to red and swollen eyes and discharge from the eye.
  • Cause light sensitivity, making time in the sun difficult.
  • Cause burning or watery eyes, or the opposite may occur, leaving your eyes dry.
  • Cause giant papillary conjunctivitis (GPC), which causes the inside of your eyelid to get red, irritated, and swollen.

Allergy season calls for special tactics to keep you and your eyes happy. Here are some tips to help make this allergy season a little more bearable for you and your eyes.

Switch Up Your Eyewear

You may not normally wear your glasses, but you might be more comfortable if you do for a while. The allergens in the air, such as pollen and dust, love contact lenses, and the particles will stick to them. That may mean eye irritation.

If you wear monthly contacts, switching to daily disposable contacts may also help. By disposing of your contacts at the end of each day, you also throw out the allergens that like sticking to them, helping keep your eyes irritant-free. If you want to stick with your current contacts, clean them properly after each wear to remove as many stuck-on allergens as possible. To ensure your contacts have the right prescription and fit, be sure to consult your eye doctor for their recommendation on the best contact lens options for you during allergy season.

Keep Your Eyes Hydrated

Keep a container of artificial tears handy and use them often. These can help your eyes feel better and wash the allergens out.

Redness-reducing solutions are only cosmetic, and while they may provide you with temporary relief, they won’t fix the underlying problem: an allergic reaction. Your VSP network doctor can help you find the right eye drops to give you longer-lasting relief and address any underlying concerns and conditions.

Avoid Allergens

In allergy season, get even more rigorous with your cleaning routine to remove allergens from your home. Dehumidifiers, hypoallergenic bedding covers, and other products can help keep allergens to a minimum inside your house.

Though it may be tempting to leave windows open and let in the fresh air, keep them closed when pollen and allergen counts are high and rely instead on your air conditioning system to keep your home cool.

You can also protect your eyes outside from allergens by putting on a pair of sunglasses. In addition to protecting your eyes from pollen, sunglasses also help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Ask The Experts

Don’t suffer in silence this allergy season. If your eyes are causing you a lot of discomfort, contact your eye doctor. They can confirm the cause of your eye irritation is allergies and not an underlying health condition and discuss treatment options.

Whether you wear contacts or glasses, your VSP network provider can help you find relief from allergy eyes. Find a VSP network provider near you and make an appointment today to take the first step toward healthy, happy eyes this spring.

Information received through VSP Vision Care channels is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice, medical recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your eye doctor, physician, or other qualified health provider, with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.