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9 Tips for Coping With Eye Allergy Season

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Spring is on the way. Soon the sun will be shining, the flowers blooming and allergy season will be upon us. If you have allergies, your eyes are often affected by the high pollen count along with other allergens floating in the fresh spring air. Tree pollens in April and May, grass pollens in June and July and mold spores and weed pollens in July and August add up to five months of eye-irritating allergens, leading to red, itchy, watery eyes, headache and sometimes fatigue.

Here are some practical tips on how to keep your eyes happy as the seasons change.

These are only a few steps you can take to make your eyes more comfortable. Remember to seek medical help from your eye care professional if symptoms persist or worsen.  Sometimes allergy medication or an antihistamine may be necessary for relief.

  1. Avoid rubbing your eyes as this intensifies the symptoms.
  2. One of the prime seasonal allergens that most disturbs eyes is pollen. Stay indoors when pollen counts are high, especially in the mid-morning and early evening.
  3. Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes, not only from UV rays, but also from allergens floating in the air.
  4. Check and clean your air conditioning filters.
  5. Use a humidifier or set out bowls of fresh water inside when using your air conditioning to help humidify the air and ensure that your eyes don’t dry out.
  6. Take a shower or bath to help maintain skin and eye moisture and improve your resistance to allergens.
  7. Allergy proof your home:
    • use dust-mite-proof covers on bedding and pillows
    • clean surfaces with a damp implement rather than dusting or dry sweeping
    • remove/ kill any mold in your home
    • keep pets outdoors if you have pet allergies.
  8. Remove contact lenses as soon as any symptoms appear.
  9. Use artificial tears to keep eyes moist.

Here's a list of the most challenging places to live with eye allergies in the US: http://www.aafa.org/pdfs/FINAL_public_LIST_Spring_2014.pdf

PROTECTING OUR COMMUNITY

We have been working very hard to prepare to re-open for normal "routine" preventive eye care, taking every precaution to ensure the safety of everyone involved. We are pleased to announce as of Monday May 18th we'll be seeing patients for all types of eye care, including routine annual eye exams.

But, things will be very different than they were prior to the pandemic.

1. Our front door will be locked at all times. We will be allowing only 1 person at a time in the office and by appointment only, so please enter alone, or with no more than l other person accompanying you. Others may wait in the car.

2. Masks will be required for both patients and us while in our office.

3. Upon entering, we will be checking your temperature and screen you for COVID symptoms or possible exposure. If your temperature is 100 F or higher, or you have symptoms or may have recently been exposed to COVID, we will reschedule you.

4. We will need you to respect the 6 feet personal distancing while outside the exam room

5. We will have you wash your hands for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer when you enter. We will be using hand washing and hand sanitizer constantly and will be disinfecting everything you and we touch. Please don't touch anything that isn't absolutely necessary.

6. For frame selection or picking out glasses, please let us help you, and don't just browse and try on frames by yourself. We have to disinfect the frames every time they are touched or worn, and we need to know which frames need to be disinfected.

We are doing all these things to protect you and all of our other patients as best we can. We will need and depend on your cooperation on this during this very difficult time. Doing so will protect your fellow patients-many of whom are at extremely high risk if they contract COVID - and to protect us. All healthcare providers are putting themselves in harm's way every day during this pandemic - the more we all cooperate and take appropriate precautions, the better off we all will be.

We are all in this together. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and cooperation.

Please stay safe.

Dr. Jim Hutchins and staff