Spring has sprung! For many that means a jovial escape from Canada’s grueling winter, but for 1 in 6 Canadians it means the beginning of (eye roll) allergy season.
WHAT IS IT?
Most recognize spring allergies as hay fever; however, the itchy feeling in your eyes (you know the one where it feels like cats are clawing out your eyes) could be an ocular allergy. Ocular allergies occur when something you are allergic to irritates the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers the eye and the inside of the eyelid.
THE SPRING SLAYERS
The source of the spring time allergy blues is from pollen in trees & grass and also mold spores.
- Mold is a fungus; it breaks down plant or animal matter.
- Pollen is small particles released from trees, weeds and grass. These particles intend to fertilize plants, but literally get sidetracked by the wind and end up entering humans via the nose or mouth.
ACHHOO CHOO GOES THE ALLERGY TRAIN
There are many different ways you can treat the ominous ocular allergy and no, we’re not advising for you to live in your basement watching re-runs of Seinfeld (although that would be fun).
Here are some suggestions for minor lifestyle changes that could help you out:
- Close windows when pollen count is high.
- Avoid using window fans to cool rooms as they can pull pollen indoors.
- Keep windows closed when driving.
- Limit your time outdoors when ragweed pollen counts are highest (every season of Friends is on Netflix).
- Keep your home dust-free (time to dust off the gym equipment).
If the above lifestyle changes don’t alter your allergy symptoms, visit our clinic or your local doctor for:
- An oral or over-the-counter antihistamine to reduce or block histamine release.
- Anti-inflammatory and/or anti-inflammation eye drops.
- Eye drops to shrink congested blood vessels.
- Steroid eye drops (only in severe cases).
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY APPLY EYE DROPS
The idea of voluntarily placing something in your eye (yes, the organ that provides you with sight, something that should never be touched) seems somewhat of an impossible task. So we have compiled a few steps to make the process of inserting eye drops (cringe) a bit easier.
- Wash your hands (the point is to cure the infection, not gain another) and stand in front of a mirror.
- Tilt your head backwards and pull your lower eyelid down.
- Hold the dropper above your eye, squeeze one drop into the pocket formed when lowering your eyelid (not near the eye and telling yourself you are done).
- Let go of the eyelid and keep the eye closed for a few minutes, with your head tilted down towards the floor, the hardest part is over!
- Press gently on the inner corner of the eye for a minute.
- Repeat in the other eye if the drops are prescribed for both eyes.