(BPT) – Spring is finally here, and while we say hello to lush green grass, flowers in bloom and leaves on trees, for many it means the start of seasonal allergies. With nearly 66 million (1 in 5) Americans suffering from eye allergies and struggling with how to get the right relief they need, it’s difficult to enjoy the warm and sunny weather when it can also mark the beginning of sneezing, coughing, runny noses and the dreaded itchy allergy eyes.[1-4]
If you are experiencing itchy allergy eyes this season, chances are they are reacting to pollen produced by grasses, weeds and trees.
The good news is there are things you can do, and things you should avoid, to reduce your itchy eyes due to allergies— according to nationally-recognized allergy expert, Dr. Tania Elliott.
DO wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses outdoors to protect your eyes from airborne pollen.
DO keep your contact lenses clean during allergy season. Cleaning contacts frequently or wearing daily contact lenses that you dispose of each day can allow you to wear contacts throughout the season.
DO use an effective, FDA approved over-the-counter eye drop. Alcon’s Pataday® eye allergy itch relief drops provide long-lasting, prescription-strength relief for itchy allergy eyes. They contain the number one doctor prescribed active ingredient (olopatadine) and are now available without a prescription as Pataday® Once Daily Relief or Pataday® Twice Daily Relief. [6-7]
DO put allergy eye drops in BEFORE applying makeup. Using eye allergy drops beforehand provides itchy allergy eye relief at the beginning of your beauty routine. Avoid false eyelashes or glue, as well as sticky beauty products like hairspray and lotions, which may be more susceptible to trapping pollen.
DO keep windows shut during peak pollen hours, which are mid-morning and early evening. Keeping your car windows closed while driving can also help.
DON’T hang laundry outside, especially bed linens, as they may collect pollen. Make sure to frequently wash bedding or linens in hot water, especially those that come in contact with your face and eyes — such as pillowcases and washcloths. Invest in good anti-allergy pillow covers and a mattress cover, and take a shower to wash the pollen out of your hair before bed.
DON’T rub your eyes, no matter how itchy they feel. You may end up scratching your cornea. Instead, hold a clean cold washcloth on your eyes for several minutes to help soothe irritation.
This allergy season you may be questioning whether what you are experiencing is an allergy or a virus, including COVID-19. The first step is to consult your doctor.
If you experience persistent eye allergy symptoms, talk to your doctor about taking an allergy test to learn about the allergens that you react to the most. Knowing these allergens can help you avoid them in your daily life – so you can make the most of your day!
 Gomes PJ. Trends in prevalence and treatment of ocular allergy. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014; 14: 451-456.  Singh, K, Axelrod S, Bielory L. The epidemiology of ocular and nasal allergy in the United States, 1988-1994.  US Population Census 2019. 6. Nielsen Household Panel Data Feb. 2019.  Nielsen Latest 52 weeks 2/6/2019  Urgacz A, Mrukwa E, Gawlik R. Adverse events in allergy sufferers wearing contact lenses. Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2015;32(3):204-9. doi:10.5114/pdia.2015.48071  PATADAY® [package insert]. Fort Worth, TX: Alcon.; 2010  Alcon. Data on file. 2019  Eye Allergy Diagnosis and Treatment. American Academy of Ophthalmology. https://www.aao.org/eyehealth/ diseases/allergies-diagnosis. Accessed February 2020.  3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Rub Your Eyes. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/3-reasons-why-youshouldnt- rub-your-eyes/. Accessed February 2020.  Tips to Help You Tackle Eye Allergies. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/ss/slideshow-eye-allergies. ©2020 Alcon, Inc. 03/20 US-PTD-2000019