Tips for Contact Use When You Have Seasonal Allergies

Contact lenses provide accurate vision correction for a wide range of problems without changing your appearance or interfering with activities. However, allergens cause eye pain and irritation for more than 75% of contact lens wearers, offsetting the benefits of this type of eyewear.

Allergy season causes problems for contact lens wearers because allergens like pollen, spores, and dust can easily stick on your lenses where they keep allergens in your eye and cause a constant reaction. The reaction makes your eyes feel sore and inflamed and results in increased tear production. Once the effects set in, it becomes difficult to continue wearing contact lenses comfortably.

The optometric physicians at Accent Vision Specialists in Santa Fe, New Mexico, provide expert contact lens fitting and services to help patients enjoy the benefits of contact lenses during every season. Our contact lens experts identify the source of allergy-related contact lens irritation and recommend solutions for continuing comfortable wear.

Read on to learn our tips for ways you can prevent seasonal allergy-related irritation from interfering with your ability to wear contact lenses as desired. 

Treat your seasonal allergies

Knowing the allergens that cause your allergic reactions can help you plan accordingly and treat the condition with allergy medications and allergy shots. Get professional allergy testing if you’re unsure of which allergens trigger your reactions. 

Consider alternative lenses

Soft lenses are more likely to absorb allergens than other types of lenses. They also provide the most challenges when trying to keep our eyes hydrated. 

The optometric physicians at Accent Vision Specialists provide professional contact lens fittings for rigid gas permeable lenses, hybrid soft-hard lenses, and scleral lenses. These lenses may provide better protection against the effect of allergens, depending on your vision problem.

Maintain recommended lens care

Following the recommended cleaning and care of your contact lenses can keep them free of allergens during allergy season. Clean your contact lenses more than normal. Change disposable lenses more often than once a day. 

Consider switching to a peroxide-based disinfecting solution, which may provide a more thorough cleaning and avoid the possibility of allergens remaining on your lenses. 

Avoid rubbing your eyes

Rubbing your eyes adds to the irritation caused by allergens. It releases additional histamines, which only make your eyes feel more irritated and itchy.  

If allergens are stuck to the inside of your contact lenses, rubbing may push the allergens deeper into your eyes and possibly scratch your cornea. A scratched cornea can cause further irritation in the form of redness and light sensitivity. Larger scratches can cause fungal infections, scars, and permanent vision problems.

To calm itchy eyes and reduce inflammation, apply a cold compress or splash cold water over your closed eyes. Use eye drops or a sterile saline solution to flush out allergens and lubricate your eyes. 

Try daily disposable contact lenses

Daily disposal contact lenses can alleviate many of the problems that seasonal allergies cause for contact lens wearers. Daily disposable contact lenses are designed to be worn for a single day, then replaced with a new, sterile pair. This gives your eyes a fresh, clean set of lenses daily, eliminating the possibility of allergens building up on the lens and causing irritation. 

Use eye drops to moisturize

Prescription eye drops can improve allergen-related symptoms for contact lens wearers. Typical recommendations advise instilling the drops 10 to 15 minutes before applying contact lenses or any time after removing them.

Artificial tears or contact lens rewetting drops can also provide soothing moisture when allergens cause dryness. Keep the bottle in the refrigerator for a refreshing remedy for use at least four times a day. Preservative-free solutions reduce the possibility of ingredients in these treatments contributing to your reactions.

Switch to glasses temporarily

If you’re having a difficult episode of allergies while wearing contact lenses, it’s fine to switch to wearing glasses temporarily. Giving your eyes a 24-hour rest can allow inflammation and itching to subside before returning to contact lenses. In the meantime, you’ll likely feel more comfortable wearing classes than contacts.

For more information on how to wear contact lenses comfortably with seasonal allergies, call Accent Vision Specialists for a consultation.

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