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Relieve your teary, allergy eyes

Spring is in the air and so are high levels of pollen, mold, dust, and other irritants that make for miserable eyes! These airborne allergens may be the primary culprit of watery, itchy eyes, but relief may be closer than you think.

If spring is making you weepy, your eyes are telling you something. "Pay attention to your eyes," explains Amy Treski, OD, a VSP doctor at Optique Boutique in Lawrenceville, NJ. "Itching, redness, and swelling of the eyes and eyelids, are common allergy symptoms—itching being the most uncomfortable and swelling the most persistent symptom." Dr. Treski suggests visiting your VSP doctor if symptoms are prolonged or get worse. Your doctor will be able to determine if what you're experiencing is caused by seasonal allergies.

DIY remedies for mild cases

Did You Know?
Contact lens wearers should wait at least 15 minutes after using any allergy eye drops before putting in lenses.

For some immediate relief on days when your allergies are mild, try some do-it-yourself remedies.

  • Keep the windows shut in your car and home—especially in the early morning hours when pollination tends to occur.
  • Wear wrap-around glasses or sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.
  • Place a cold compress over your eyes to soothe discomfort.
  • Use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to flush out any irritants.
  • Try an over-the-counter remedy like allergy eye drops, oral antihistamines, or other medication for mild allergies

It's important to note that allergy eye drops can offer immediate relief, but with long-term use, they can weaken blood vessels in your eyes and make your eyes redder.

What to do for for severe allergies
Prescription drops may be the answer if you suffer from allergies with persistent, moderate to severe symptoms. "There are prescription medications that have a dual action of a mast cell stabilizer and an antihistamine—this blocks the effect of allergens and quickly relieves itching to offer long-lasting relief," says Dr. Treski. Check with your VSP doctor to determine the cause of your itchy, red eyes—even if it's a mild case of allergies.