Allergies and Your Eyes

Achoo! Its allergy season— and with it, comes runny noses, itchy eyes, and wheezing. If you feel as if there’s no place that brings on allergies worse than the Willamette Valley, you may be right. According to, in 2019, Eugene Oregon ranked the worst city in the nation for allergy sufferers.

What Causes Allergies?

Eye irritation can occur when allergens are in the air, such as pollen, dust, or pet dander. These allergens come into contact with the thin membrane that covers the eyeball. This membrane is called the conjunctiva. When the conjunctiva becomes irritated by the allergens, a substance called histamine is released. Many people experience red, itchy, watery, burning, or dry eyes from allergies.

Seasonal Allergies 

This time of year, it is the tree pollen count that is high, but the grass pollen usually starts rising to extreme numbers beginning in a few weeks. Grass seed is Oregon’s fifth-largest agricultural crop. Of the 400,000 acres of grass seed in Oregon, 360,000 are in the Willamette Valley. 

Indoor Allergies

You don’t have to set foot outdoors to have your day ruined by itchy allergy eyes. Pet dander, animal hair, dust, and mold are among the most common indoor allergens. Forced-air heating can push dust into your home. Make sure to clean the air filters regularly to keep dust particles down. Using air conditioning while its hot dehumidifies the air and helps filter out pollen, which dislikes airflow. When it’s cold, use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry to prevent the spread of mold.

Eye Allergies and The Weather

The number one way to treat eye allergies is to mitigate exposure to the allergens. Try to stay inside when pollen is at its peak, usually when it is hot and dry outside. When its humid outside, try to keep your home humidity levels at less than 50% to prevent indoor mold and dust mites from thriving. Head outdoors after it rains, when most pollen has washed from the air.

You can check the daily pollen count online here: Pollen Counts 

Treatment and Tips

Shower before bed and change your pillowcase regularly to help avoid allergens while you sleep. Don’t rub your eyes. When you rub your eyes, more histamine gets released. According to Dr. Sharp, “putting a cold washcloth over your eyes can help with the itching as can certain eye drops.” Padaday eye drops are now available without a prescription. These once per day eyedrops usually do the trick but not always. Fortunately, there are still prescription eye drops that work when the over the counter eye drops don’t. 

You don’t have to put up with irritated eyes. If your eyes are bothering you, come see us! We can help you treat your allergy eye symptoms and make sure it’s not something more significant. 

Fill out the form below or give us a call today to schedule your appointment.

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