Don't get caught out by hay fever this summer!

hay fever

What is hay fever, and how can it affect our eyesight?

According to Kleenex UK, with approximately 21 million people of all ages suffering from hay fever, the UK has the highest prevalence of allergies compared to other countries around the world.

Hay fever is a type of allergic reaction that occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to pollen from trees, grasses, and weeds. In those with hay fever, the body produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) in response to exposure to specific allergens. This leads to the release of histamine and other chemicals in the body, resulting in symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, and congestion.

It is not entirely clear why some people develop the condition while others do not. Certain genetic factors may increase the risk of developing allergies. Additionally, environmental factors such as pollution can make allergy symptoms worse. Researchers believe that early exposure to certain allergens may play a role in the development of allergies later in life. Understanding the causes of hay fever is important for developing effective treatments and preventative measures to reduce the impact of this allergy on people’s lives.

Symptoms and diagnosis of hay fever

Hay fever is a common allergic reaction that affects millions of people each year. It occurs when the immune system overreacts to allergens such as pollen, dust, or pet dander, causing symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, and watery eyes.

One of the most common symptoms of the condition is eye itchiness. This happens because when allergens enter the body through the eyes, they trigger a response from cells called mast cells which release histamine. Histamine causes inflammation and irritation in tissues throughout the body, including the eyes.

Main symptoms of hay fever: 

  • Red and teary eyes
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Eye irritation
  • Frequent sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose

As histamine levels rise in response to allergens, they cause blood vessels in the conjunctiva to become inflamed and dilated. This results in swelling and redness of the eyes, as well as increased production of tears. The combination of these factors can lead to a persistent itchiness or burning sensation that may be worsened by rubbing or touching the eyes.

Additionally, exposure to certain environmental conditions like wind or dry air can exacerbate these symptoms by further irritating already inflamed tissues. While it may be tempting to rub your itchy eyes when experiencing this discomfort during a hay fever episode, doing so can make things worse by spreading allergens across other parts of your face and creating further.

Tips for reducing hay fever symptoms this summer

Hay fever can be a challenging condition to manage, and when it affects the eyes, it can be particularly distressing. However, there are several precautionary measures we can take to reduce eye irritation caused by hay fever.

One of the most effective ways is to wear wraparound sunglasses that cover the sides as well as the front of the eyes. These types of glasses act as a barrier against pollen and prevent it from settling on our ocular surface, thus reducing irritation.

Natural tips for relieving hay fever symptoms: 

  • Use Vaseline around your nostrils and under your eyes to trap pollen
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses to stop pollen from getting under your eyes
  • Shower and change your clothes to wash pollen off
  • Stay indoors wherever possible
  • Vacuum and dust regularly to keep pollen out of your home 
  • Purchase a pollen filter for the air vents in your car 

In addition to blocking external irritants, sunglasses also protect our eyes from harsh sunlight during seasonal episodes, which can worsen symptoms. It’s equally important to keep windows shut in our homes, office, and car as much as possible. Instead, we should opt for air conditioning or fans on warmer days.

Finally, before going to bed at night, we must ensure that all windows in our bedroom are closed tightly to prevent exposure to any particles while sleeping. By implementing these preventative measures, we may find relief from eye irritation associated with seasonal allergies.

This may also interest you: 

Your 2023 Opticall personal eyecare report explained

Top tips for living safely at home with a vision impairment

The importance of choosing the right eyewear

Look after your eyesight with Opticall Eyecare this summer

When summer rolls around, it can be a great time of year for enjoying the outdoors and catching up with friends and family. However, for those who suffer from hay fever, it can also be a difficult and uncomfortable time of year. Thankfully, you can look after your eyesight and combat the effects of the condition with Opticall Eyecare this summer. With Opticall Eyecare, you can get the treatment and advice you need to keep your eyes healthy and comfortable during the summer months.

Get in touch with our optical team today to book your next eye test and discuss your symptoms with our professionals. 

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