How to Fight Eye Allergies If You Wear Contact Lenses

If you wear prescription contact lenses, you never have to worry about misplacing your glasses, breaking them, or constantly having to wipe them clean. But that doesn’t mean that everything is fine and dandy. As any contact wearer can tell you, eye allergies during the spring can be an especially difficult time.

contacts and allergiesYou can fight eye allergies in a number of ways if you wear contacts. Avoid dry, itchy eyes by using eye drops throughout your day. Instead of rubbing your eyes, use a cold compress to soothe your irritated eyes. Switching to daily disposable contacts and wearing glasses more often instead of contacts can also make a big difference. It can help to understand what causes allergies, symptoms to look out for, and how to distinguish different types of pink eye.

How to Fight Eye Allergies if You Wear Contacts

They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why the best way to fight eye allergies during the spring is to start taking precautions early on. By knowing what to expect, you can stock up on anything you may need to alleviate your symptoms as well as seek extra help if they don’t do the trick.

1. Avoid Dry Eyes

Dry, itchy eyes are one of the most common seasonal allergy symptoms. To fight this common and annoying symptom, pick up a bottle of quality eye drops. These drops will reduce or possibly even wash away any irritants that are causing your eyes to become dry. 

They can also prevent allergens from sticking to your lenses. Booking a comprehensive eye exam at Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical can help determine if something worse than allergies is causing your dry eyes.

2. Cold Compresses

Chances are that your first instinct is to rub your eyes when they become irritated, but that’s the last thing you should do. Rubbing can actually spread allergens and make your irritation worse. Instead, try using a cold compress to get relief from allergens that cause itchiness and swelling. For the best results, cleanse your eyes with a cloth and warm water to remove irritants.

3. Switch to Disposable Contacts

Disposable contacts, or daily contacts, can be a huge help if you struggle with spring allergies. They never have enough time to collect allergens since you only wear them once and toss them in the trash, plus you don’t have to worry about cleaning them. Contact us today to set up an appointment and discuss your options for disposable contacts.

4. Limit Your Use of Contacts

Switching to prescription glasses may be one of your best bets to avoid seasonal allergies if you wear contacts. Just like your car during peak allergy season, allergens can get stuck to your contacts. By choosing to wear your glasses more, you’re preventing allergens from getting stuck in your eyes. The end result is a much more enjoyable changing of the seasons!

Spring Allergies

To help protect yourself, it helps to understand more about eye allergies so you can spot and treat them immediately. People often associate spring allergies with noses, but they do more than cause the sniffles. Allergies can have a big influence on your eyes, as well. It’s also not always pollen that can set off an allergy attack.  

What causes eye allergies?

Allergy attacks occur when your immune system gets confused. Harmless allergens such as pollen and pet dander are mistaken for something much more dangerous and your immune system begins to fight them off. Your body releases histamine to combat these invaders, but you also end up with symptoms such as irritated eyes and a nose that’s gone haywire.

Eye Allergy Symptoms

Eye allergy symptoms can vary and depend on the allergen. Pollen can result in an immediate allergy attack while allergies due to pet dander may take a couple of days. Regardless of the source or how long it may take, you’ll want to keep a lookout for certain symptoms to make sure it’s an allergy attack.

When it comes to your eyes, be on the lookout for:

  • Swollen eyelids
  • Red or irritated conjunctiva (this can look like pink eye or conjunctivitis)
  • Itchy eyes
  • Tearing or runny eyes
  • Sensitivity to light

Of course, these aren’t the only symptoms you may experience. Sneezing and a runny or stuffy nose are also hallmarks of an allergy attack. Talk to your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms and ask what you can do about them.

What’s the difference between allergies and pink eye?

Allergies and pink eye are often discussed as if they’re separate things, but they’re actually different versions of the same problem — conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis affects the conjunctiva, which is a thin membrane that covers and protects the surface of the eyeball as well as the surface of the eyelids.

Conjunctivitis has three possible causes:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Allergens

Cases resulting from allergens can be treated with eye drops and other over-the-counter treatments. However, other forms of pink eye are extremely contagious. Symptoms can vary, but respiratory infections and swelling or tenderness in front of the ears are common symptoms. Talk to your doctor if you suspect you have pink eye to get the treatment that you need. 

There are plenty of ways to fight allergies if you wear contacts. Eye drops and cold compresses are fantastic ways to relieve dry, irritated eyes and remove irritants. It can also help to switch to daily contact lenses or prescription glasses during the height of pollen season. Understanding what causes eye allergies, their symptoms, and types of pink eye can also help you fight their effect on your eyes.

Are you considering disposable contact lenses or new glasses to beat this allergy season? Contact us today to schedule your appointment!

Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical has been serving Knoxville since 2009. Dr. Travis Thompson and Dr. Catherine Abbott specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide array of eye diseases, conditions, and problems and are committed to improving the quality of life in the Knoxville community through enhanced vision. Located at 10904 Spring Bluff Way, you can schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (865) 888-0892.

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Dr. Thompson was born and raised in Knoxville, TN. His family has lived in the Hardin Valley area since 1998, and he graduated from Karns High School in 2004. Dr. Thompson runs Hardin Valley Eyecare & Optical alongside his wife, Dr. Catherine Abbott.

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"Dr. Thompson is super professional, and has some of the best 'bedside manner' that I have ever witnessed from any doctor. His staff was very helpful in assisting me with picking out regular frames and sunglasses. I’d happily recommend Dr. Thompson to anyone looking for a eye doctor."
Cody C.