dos and don'ts for treating eye redness

Allergy season isn’t limited to the spring. Many allergy sufferers can attest to battling symptoms in the summer and fall, too. One of the many painful and bothersome concerns? Eye redness.

With seasonal ocular allergies, your body’s reaction to pollen can cause your immune system to create antibodies that make your eyes release histamine and other substances. The pollen culprits are typically grasses, trees and weeds. Some studies have shown that pollen levels gradually increase every year, with plants producing and releasing pollen earlier. The release of pollen triggers eyes to become itchy, watery, and red. While these symptoms don’t necessarily spell trouble for your eyesight, they can be terribly frustrating, uncomfortable, and even painful.

Ocular allergies can’t be cured but they can be treated. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind when you’re managing your symptoms.

DO Prevent Exposure.

Avoid the outdoors as much as possible. This can feel like tough love for allergy sufferers since springtime is often characterized by lovely weather. But think about this way: If you were allergic to avocados or peanuts, would you eat them? Probably not. And the same goes for pollen. Staying inside on days when the pollen count is high. If you’re unsure, try downloading an allergy app that has a pollen forecast. Your best bet is to stay indoors, keep your windows closed, and run the air conditioner. When you do go outside, make sure to wear sunglasses to keep pollen out of your eyes.

DON’T Scratch or Rub Your Eyes.

This goes without saying, yet it bears repeating.

DO Skip Eye Makeup.

The chemicals in your mascara, concealer eye liner or eye shadow might further irritate your eyes. Going makeup-free is a fail-safe way to avoid eye redness. If you can’t fathom the idea of putting on something, then try hypoallergenic makeup options but skip mascara and eye liner. Both of those products are typically applied right at the eye line and they have the tendency to transfer to the eye itself by way of flakes and smudges.

DO Apply a Cold Compress.

A burning sensation can sometimes accompany eye redness. A cold compress can help cool the eye area and provide a reprieve from discomfort. You can make a cold compress by repeatedly soaking a washcloth in cold water and applying it to the eyes, or try making an ice pack by wrapping ice in a small towel or cloth or by filling a plastic bag with ice. For on-the-go emergencies, run cold water over a paper towel and rest it to your eyes for 15-30 seconds.

DON’T Tough It Out.

Medication is not a bad word. Many allergy sufferers find relief in over-the-counter treatments. Eye drops and oral medication often have the same key ingredients. Antihistamines  can help relieve itching. An eye drop that has decongestants will shrink blood vessels in your eyes, thereby easing redness.Tear substitute drops can help rinse away allergens which helps to keep the eyes pollen-free. If you have severe allergies, talk to your doctor about getting an allergy shot known as immunotherapy.