Smart Contact Lens Care During Allergy Season
If you’ve ever experienced itchy, dry, or stinging eyes as a result of your contact lenses, you can safely assume that allergies are the culprit. Allergy season is the number one reason that people have to replace their lenses, because irritants build up over time to the point where you can no longer wear them comfortably. Over 40 percent of Americans suffer from allergic reactions, and almost 80 percent of them experience symptoms of Dry Eye Disease, whether they are contact lens wearers or not. Everyone can take steps to protect their eyes when dust and pollen are heavy in the air, but contact lens wearers are especially susceptible to discomfort. Taking care of your lenses and your eyes during allergy season will both save you money and make you feel a whole lot better.
1. Replace Your Lenses on Time
Whether you wear daily, weekly, or monthly lenses, or even rigid gas permeable, it’s important not to keep wearing lenses that are too old. Studies show that nearly 40 percent of contact lens wearers don’t follow the schedule of when to dispose of their lenses as closely as they should, and this can make a big impact during allergy season. Older contacts develop scratches and crevices which can be abrasive, especially because they are perfect spots for allergens and other foreign particles to build up. If you’re unsure of how much wear and tear your lenses suffer, your doctor can help check them for scratches and prescribe a more comfortable lens that works better for you.
2. Use the Right Eye Drops
Most people who still wear their lenses every day during allergy season rely heavily on the use of eye drops to stave off Dry Eye Disease. But you have to make sure you’re using one that’s designed to work for contact lens wearers and is safe and effective. Rewetting drops, or artificial tears, are the most effective type and will help you flush out allergens from your eyes. Using these drops often during the day, as much as every 2 hours, is a smart way of keeping your eyes safe from harmful allergic reactions. You don’t want to use popular brands like Visine or Cleareyes, which restrict blood flow to your eyes and can be dangerous. There are several prescription and over the counter allergy drops made specifically for contact lens wearers that your doctor can recommend.
3. Simply Reduce Allergy Triggers
No matter how well you care for your lenses, you can still be vulnerable to eye irritation from allergies. In fact, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America says 60 percent of contact lens wearers either reduce or eliminate lens wear during peak allergy season. The best way to keep wearing your contacts safely is to take steps to reduce your exposure to allergens. This means regularly washing your bedsheets and clothes, keeping windows shut at home or at work, monitoring the pollen count, and even showering at night. If you’re diligent at keeping allergens away from your skin and clothes, you’ll be a lot happier all around, not just because of your improved eye health.
Contact lenses are an important investment that make seeing clearly much more hassle-free than wearing glasses. You don’t want to let allergies rob you of the convenience of wearing your contacts. Eye irritation happens to everyone, but it’s not impossible for lens wearers to cut down on the itching and go about their day in comfort.
Writer Marilyn Baur is an avid blogger. Have questions about contacts? Check out seeside. e.K.