If you plan on wearing some awesome colored contact lenses at some point during the next few months – and there should be plenty of summer party opportunities to do just that – then you’ll be wise to learn about the seasonal eye allergies that can affect us and how best to combat them so the lenses don’t aggravate any eye problems we might develop. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to keep our eyes feeling fresh so we can break out the colored contacts whenever we need them.
Common Summer Eye Allergies
We’ve written before about the problems and solutions specifically to do with hay fever and contact lenses, but this common summer allergy isn’t the only issue we can have with our eyes during this time of the year. There’s also Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis (VKC), often called Spring Catarhh even though it is more commonly suffered during the summer (also more accurately referred to as Warm Weather Conjunctivitis). VKC is an inflammation of the conjunctiva which is the thin lining covering the white part of the eyeball. Most commonly affecting young adults and children (and boys more often than girls), it is a seasonally recurring and bilateral allergy which isn’t caused by wearing contact lenses, but can indeed be aggravated by wearing them.
Allergies Caused by Medical Treatments
There are also common allergic reactions to certain medications which can inflame the eye and cause soreness and discomfort. Anaphylactic and papillary reactions can occur up to a week after ingesting antibiotic and antiviral medications, as well as more serious medical treatments such as penicillin and anesthetic. Always be aware of the possibility of a potential allergic reaction such as this if you plan on wearing contact lenses shortly after medical treatments which might cause an inflammation of your eyes.
Minimizing the Risk of Eye Allergies
Most allergens which affect the eyes are airborne and practically impossible to avoid aside from wearing a scuba mask all day and night. But there are a few measures you can take to protect yourself as much as possible as well as care for your eyes should you pick up one of these seasonal allergies. First of all, you’ll want to clean your contacts regularly; much more regularly than you need to during the winter. This is because the allergen microbes travel via pollen and dust particles in the air and can easily attach themselves to the surface of a contact lens. You also need to keep your eyes moist while wearing contact lenses, so keep yourself well-stocked with re-wetting eye drops.
How to Treat an Eye Allergy
If you do pick up an eye allergy, then remove your lenses as soon as possible, or avoid wearing them. If you are an everyday wearer of contacts then you’ll need to break out the old specs and wear those until the allergy clears up. It’s also very important that you don’t rub your eyes when you have an allergy, especially if they are red and swollen. They may be itchy but rubbing your eyes in this situation will only result in an even worse inflammation as the rubbing action spreads the allergens around creating a wider affected area. Instead, use a cool and damp compress to ease the discomfort and relieve the itchiness.
Eye Doctors Have Preventions as well as Cures
If summer eye allergies have been a problem for you before then you can visit your eye doctor in advance to discuss the various medical treatments available which can prevent allergies. As well as providing treatments for current sufferers, there are treatments which can help you avoid suffering in the first place, freeing you up to wear your contact lenses whenever you like.