Many of us look forward to the start of spring and all it entails, from warmer weather to planting our favorite fruits and vegetables. Spring also signals the start of allergy season, and that’s bad news if you’re a contact lens wearer.
Eye allergies affect millions of Americans, and they’re often aggravated by contact lens use. Minimize your suffering when pollen counts are high with the following tips.
1. SWITCH TO DAILY USE LENSES
Allergens cause deposits to form on contact lenses and lead to discomfort (and potential eye problems). Contaminants and irritants don’t build up on daily disposable lenses like other longer use varieties, which makes them great for allergy sufferers. And studies have shown that those who wear daily-use lenses experience greater comfort than monthly contact wearers.
2. CLEAN YOUR LENSES OFTEN
Proper cleaning of your lenses will keep deposits from forming. If you don’t wear daily replacement lenses, you should replace your all-in-one disinfecting solution with something stronger, such as a peroxide-based solution that’s more effective for thorough cleaning.
3. HYDRATE WITH REWETTING DROPS
Rewetting drops will help keep your eyes moist — and provide temporary relief — during allergy season. Ask your doctor about brands that are safe for contact users.
4. GO EASY ON MAKEUP
You’ll give your irritated eyes a much-needed break by cutting back on eye makeup during the allergy season. If you can’t, then make sure you apply your makeup after you put in your contacts.
5. WASH YOUR HANDS
It’s always a good idea to keep your hands clean, of course, but make sure you wash them thoroughly before touching your eyes. Soaps (even mild ones) can irritate your eyes so rinse your hands well before touching your contacts.
6. REPLACE YOUR LENS CASE
Your contact lens case should be replaced every three months to avoid contamination. It’s particularly important to follow this rule during allergy season as contacts pick up pollen, dust, and dirt every time you wear them.
7. AVOID RUBBING
It’s only natural to want to rub your eyes when they’re itchy and irritated, but this will only make the problem worse. Instead, place a cool cloth or splash your eyes with cold water to reduce inflammation.
8. SEE YOUR OPTOMETRIST
If your eyes are still irritated after trying the above tips, consult your optometrist. He or she may suggest a different type of lens or cleaning solution.