Hay fever is a common condition that many people experience at certain times of the year, particularly in the summer. Also known as allergic rhinitis, hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen – a fine powder released by plants during their reproductive cycle.
What are the symptoms of hay fever?
- Itchy, watery or red eyes
- Blocked or runny nose
- Itchiness in the back of the throat, nose and ears
For some people, the protein found in pollen can cause their eyes to become irritated and inflamed, as well as the nose, throat and sinuses. This can become quite uncomfortable and even debilitating – preventing you from enjoying warm, sunny days when the pollen count is at its highest.
As a result of these symptoms, hay fever can be quite problematic for contact lens wearers. If your eyes become itchy, red and watery, your vision through the contact lenses can appear ‘smeary’ and less sharp – not to mention uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time.
Hay fever treatment
- Over-the-counter products
- Nasal spray
- Eye drops
If you’re a contact lens wearer
- Try contact lens friendly eye drops to calm down itchiness
- Wear your glasses if your eyes feel uncomfortable
- Ask your optician about daily disposable lenses
For more advice about wearing contact lenses with hay fever, visit our helpful contac lenses tips page.
Eye drops for dry eyes
Hay fever can cause huge discomfort to your eyes. If it’s not treated properly, many people will regularly experience itchy or dry eyes, especially during the summer months. Eye drops for dry eyes can provide some relief by flushing pollen from the surface of the eyes. You should also ask your optometrist whether they can recommend drops specifically designed to reduce your allergic reaction.
Specsavers’ range of eye drops for dry eyes are preservative-free, relieving eye irritation and avoiding any disruption to the tear film. Our 10ml bottles of intensive eye drops are great for frequent or single-use. We also recommend eyelid wipes to prevent and alleviate symptoms of hay fever, and to remove pollen. Explore all of our products to help keep your eyes healthy here.
How can I protect my eyes from hay fever?
- Keep an eye on daily pollen counts so you can take necessary precautions
- Avoid going outside on days with high pollen counts wherever possible
- Shower and change your clothes after you’ve been outside
- Avoid hanging your clothes to dry outdoors
- Wear wraparound glasses or sunglasses to prevent pollen getting into your eyes
- Apply a small amount of Vaseline around the nostrils to help to trap pollen grains
Do glasses help with hay fever?
While it isn’t a cure for hay fever, wearing wraparound glasses or sunglasses while you’re out and about can help keep pollen out of your eyes and in turn reduce some of your symptoms. You also might consider switching from contact lenses to glasses during peak hay fever months if your eyes are feeling particularly sore or irritated.
Be allergy aware
Because it’s so common around the summer time, it’s easy to assume your symptoms may be related to hay fever. However, many people don’t realise that symptoms typically associated with allergies could also indicate other potentially serious eye conditions.
So if your symptoms become worse, or don’t go away with the help of antihistamines, it’s a good idea to come and see us.