Tips for contact wearer with allergies
Contact lenses and allergies make dry eyes during allergy season a certainty. The famous saying, “April showers bring May flowers," receives a warm reception from many folks living in cold weather climates. However, if you have allergies, spring can be problematic. It can be a double whammy if you have allergies and wear contacts. Don't worry allergy sufferers — you're not alone! Here are some of our tips for wearing contacts during allergy season:
Try using daily disposable lenses
Dr. Lahr, the Medical Director for EyeMed Vision Care, suggests that wearing daily disposable lenses will give the best chance for successful lens wear during allergy season. Contact lenses with a daily disposal cycle can help contact lens wearers avoid many of the problems that seasonal allergies can cause. Daily disposable contact lenses are intended to be used for one day only before being changed with a fresh, sterile pair. This provides your eyes with a new set of lenses every day, preventing allergens from accumulating on the lens and creating irritation.
Keep contact solution and rewetting drops handy
To soothe irritated eyes, clean your contacts and add more moisture. Dr. Lahr recommends taking action as soon as possible by keeping the solution and rewetting drops on hand.
Avoiding rubbing your eyes
Avoid the temptation of rubbing your eyes as this can make matters worse. If contact lens wear times decrease significantly or the itching and watering are not acceptable, ask your eye doctor about prescription eye drops to treat your allergy symptoms more directly.
Maintain a strict lens care regimen
Keeping your contact lenses clean and cared for according to the manufacturer's instructions can help keep them free of allergens during allergy season. Be sure to pay close attention to your cleaning and disinfecting routine and replace your disposable lenses frequently to help irritated eyes. Also, consider switching to a peroxide-based disinfection solution, which will clean your lenses more thoroughly and eliminate the likelihood of allergens remaining on your lenses.
Can allergies make your contacts dry?
Most allergies come from environmental factors like pollen, cat dander, dust mites, etc. There are also more severe ocular allergies that require medical intervention. Allergens such as dust, spores, and pollen and contact lenses stick together like glue, trapping allergens in your eyes and causing a continuous reaction. The reaction causes soreness and inflammation in your eyes, as well as an increase in tear production. It becomes difficult to wear contact lenses comfortably once the effects have set in.
What is the difference between dry eye and allergies?
As a contact lens wearer, you may have experienced dry and irritated eyes. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S. with an annual cost of over $18 billion. “You need to know the difference between dry eyes versus allergies", states Dr. John Lahr.
Dry eye is a broad term covering many eye irritations. It can occur when the lids, which secrete the oil layer, become infected or inflamed or the glands which make up tears underperform due to inflammation. Dry eyes with contacts are usually the result of overwearing your lenses, but not only.
According to WebMD, the most common spring allergy trigger is pollen. The tiny particles are released into the air by trees, grass, and weeds to fertilize other plants. When pollen gets into the nose or on the ocular surface of someone who is allergic, they send the immune system into overdrive.
Blooming flowers in spring mean a high pollen count in the air resulting in sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, and an irritated throat. Dr. Lahr states that while eye allergies can also cause redness and tearing, the main symptom is itching. The cause of ocular allergy is sensitivity to a substance that is not usually harmful. When the allergen interacts with cells called mast cells, a substance called histamine is released, leading to an allergic reaction.
Best contacts for allergies
The best contacts for allergies are the daily disposable lenses since they can help reduce the intensity of your body’s allergic reaction to pollen and other allergens. Breaking out a fresh pair of contacts each day means that there is no buildup of allergy-stimulating particles on the surface of your lenses to clean off at the end of the day.