More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year and approximately 34 million wear contact lenses. According to the American Optometric Association, more than 75% of contact lens wears complain of allergen-caused eye discomfort. This is especially a problem for people who prefer to wear contact lenses over glasses.
The reason contact lens wearers suffer more severely from allergies is simple, contact lenses trap allergens on the surface of the eye creating further irritation and discomfort. Contact lenses also prevent certain eye medications from easing allergy symptoms.
Here are some tips to keep eyes comfortable this allergy season.
Lubricate, lubricate, lubricate
One of the best things you can do regardless of whether or not you wear contacts is lubricate your eyes. This helps wash out allergens causing irritation.
Glasses, glasses, glasses
Many contact lens wearers avoid glasses at all costs. Allergy season is not the time to do this. Wearing glasses will help with the irritation and discomfort caused by wearing contacts while suffering from allergies.
Clean, clean, clean
It is always important to keep your contact lenses clean between uses to minimize the risk of infection, but this is especially true during allergy season for a different reason. Cleaning your contacts washes away allergens that may be trapped on the surface.
Say no to rubbing
Contact lens wearers are typically good about not rubbing their eyes but if you get the urge to, grab a washcloth instead. Cool compresses over the eyes will help eliminate swelling and itching.
We’ve already discussed how glasses are the desired corrective lens during allergy season. Another excellent option is LASIK vision correction. LASIK typically takes contact lenses out of the equation. It can even take glasses out of the equation for most people!
See a doc
If your allergies are affecting your quality of life, it is important to explore options to relieve your symptoms. Visit your doctor to discuss medication options available.