Get ready for hay fever season

Summer is one of the best times of the year in our opinion, and we’re sure you agree too! We’ve survived another winter; the world is starting to come alive again and the outdoors begins to look more inviting.

Unfortunately, for all its joys, summer can still bring inconveniences with it like hay fever. For 20% of the UK population, hay fever can become a real issue, affecting their quality of life day to day.

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is essentially a pollen allergy which is caused when plants start to develop, and pollen is released into the air and carried by the wind. For some of us, our bodies think this is a threat and overreact, with inflammation being the result.

To add insult to injury, different plants release pollen at different times of the year, extending the period for some sufferers. From late March to May, tree pollen is most prolific. From May to July, it’s grass pollen. From the end of June to September, pollen from weeds is at its highest.

Hay fever symptoms

With hay fever, eyes are usually the most affected. It can be responsible for causing:

  • itchy, red, and irritated eyes
  • watery eyes
  • swollen and puffy areas around the eyes
  • sneezing and coughing
  • many other symptoms such as a runny nose, headaches, tiredness, and an itchy throat and mouth.

Although hay fever does not cause long term effects on our vision, it can in the short term be very uncomfortable, which is why if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, it’s worth getting in touch with our expert team to see if there is any advice or relief we can provide you.

What’s the best hay fever treatment?

Prevention is always better than cure. The pollen count is usually at its highest in the mid-morning and early evening, so avoid exposure during these times if possible.

Glasses can help stop pollen from coming into direct contact with your eyes, so it might be better to opt for those rather than contact lenses if you do tend to suffer from hay fever eye symptoms quite badly.

Sunglasses can help shield your eyes from pollen floating through the air too. When choosing sunglasses, the wraparound style is the most effective as it creates the best barrier around your eyes from all angles to block any pollen from entering.

We also recommend changing and washing your clothes after a day out as they can trap pollen. Drying clothes indoors can also help.

Washing hands thoroughly is important as a general hygiene practice anyway, but particularly so after coming into contact with pollen, as it can transfer to your eyes if you rub them with your hands.

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to avoid all pollen during this time of year, so assessment and treatment may be needed.

Antihistamines are a quick-acting and effective way to reduce inflammation caused by hay fever. Eye drops are also a common and efficient way of reducing symptoms, with steroid eye drops available for more severe cases.

It’s important to know that not all eye drops are suitable for everyone, please do contact us if you are thinking about purchasing eye drops to soothe your symptoms and we will help you find the right ones for you.

Optase Allergy eyedrops

One brand of eye drops that has proved very effective against the onset of hay fever symptoms is Optase Allergy eye drops, which we are pleased to stock in practice. These drops contain a specific barrier substance called Ectoin – a naturally occurring molecule which works by forming a protective layer on the surface of the eye to prevent allergens like pollen from affecting it.

This hay fever eye drop help soothe symptoms like itchiness, redness, and watery eyes due to their lubricating unique formulation. As Optase Allergy eye drops are also preservative-free, they’re also compatible with contact lens wearers and children, as they won’t experience any irritation using them.

Hay fever – eye assessment

At our opticians in West London, Mr Kasmani – our owner and resident optometrist has invested in the latest digital imaging software and equipment to help assess symptoms associated with conditions like hay fever, which may in turn cause persistent dry eye.

Our AOS software can examine your eyes individually, looking at the surface, tears, tear flow, and dry areas at high magnification. This, in turn, enables us to come up with a personalised treatment plan for you to manage your symptoms effectively.

Contact our opticians in West London

Hay fever is not a condition that can cause lasting damage, but it can result in significant levels of discomfort. You don’t have to suffer through this in silence though, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team to discuss your hay fever symptoms and get advice on alleviating your hay fever eye symptoms and hay fever treatment.