Seven top tips to protect your eyes from allergies this Spring

Posted 18 days ago by Georgie Wadsworth

‘Welcome to NZ!’ they said, when I first arrived. ‘Nature’s paradise! Clean! Green!’ Yeah, ok, I admit they were right. But did they tell me about Spring? NO. A season where all that cleanness and all that greenness is overtaken by flowers, blossom and pollen. Literally blankets of thick pollen. I mean, I’m not prone to allergies.. but the South Island in Spring? There are few who escape this season without any unwanted side-effects. ALL the itchy, watery, allergies.

 

So truly, I do sympathise. So it’s for my sake as well as yours that I’ve put together these seven top tips to survive the itchy season - vision intact.  

 

But first, let me get technical for just a moment. Allergies in the eyes are a vicious cycle. Underneath the top eyelids are a heap of little cells (mast cells) that hold histamine. When the pollen increases in the air, it triggers all the cells to burst, releasing the histamine and resulting in extreme itchiness. When we run our eyes, it simply bursts more and more of the cells - and so the cycle continues.  Annoying right? Here’s what to do about it:

The best strategy involves ALL of these three steps, used at the same time:

  1. The best anti-allergy eye drops (I believe, anyway) - Zaditen UD. Why?

    1. Available without a prescription

    2. Only one that is both a preventer as well as an antihistamine

    3. Long-lasting means only twice daily dosing

    4. Available in preservative free (see point 3 as to why this is important)

Zaditen UD is available behind the counter at OCULA.

  1. Use cold compresses to keep your eyes from swelling. You can use a cold, wet face cloth or, for the best effect, pop in store for a cold compress therapy pack for time-released cooling

  2. Use lubricating eye drops often to cleanse and flush the eyes. It is important to try and stay clear of lubricating drops in bottles, as these often have preservatives. Sensitive eyes can also be allergic to preservatives. We love Systane Hydration UD, which you can get from us in store

 

To see a good effect, you will need to do all of the above, twice a day at least, for at least a week.

Some other good tips:

  1. Get a jump on it. If you're prone to irritants, see your optometrist before allergy season, and make sure you’re well equipped.

  2. Limit exposure. Stay away from obvious culprits such as freshly mown grass, long grassy paddocks, any grass!

  3. Speak with a naturopath about natural remedies to reduce symptoms, and consider immune-boosting supplements, such as zinc and vitamin C.

  4. Reduce your contact lens wear but if you have to use contacts, use daily disposables during Spring to prevent buildup of allergens.

  5. Shower in the evening and gently cleanse your eyelids to remove any pollen that will irritate the eyes during sleep.

 

It’s also worth noting that if you are prone to dry eyes, this can make allergies even worse, so it's important to get a tailored plan from your optometrist that can tackle both problems simultaneously.

 

If you’ve tried all of this, and there’s still no relief for you, book an appointment with one of our optometrists, as you may need a more tailored approach, or a prescription medication.

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