The changing seasons and new growth in spring can be a welcome respite from winter. But for the 50 million Americans living with seasonal allergies, it means sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes. 

The itchy, watery, red eyes are uncomfortable for everyone who suffers from allergies, of course. But if you wear contact lenses, these allergic symptoms can make eye discomfort almost unbearable. 

Pollen and other allergens cling to the surface of contacts, get trapped in your eyes, and exacerbate your symptoms. In fact, nearly 75% of people with contacts say allergies irritate their eyes and make contact lenses uncomfortable to wear.

But the good news is that you don’t have to suffer through allergy season without relief — and you don’t have to start wearing your glasses when pollen counts rise. At Pacific Eye, our eye doctors are highly trained in contact lens fittings and care

Our team is here to offer some of the best tips for managing contacts during allergy season.

Avoid touching your eyes

Pollen, mold spores, and other allergens travel through the air. They collect on your clothing, skin, hair, and eyes. Touching your face or your eyes can transfer allergens, and rubbing your eyes only worsens the symptoms. Wash your hands frequently, and avoid rubbing or touching your eyes even if they’re itchy.

It’s impossible to completely remove allergens from your environment, but cleaning your home and car can make a difference. Wash pillowcases, sheets, and clothing frequently. Change air filters regularly and keep windows closed to prevent allergens from coming indoors whenever possible. 

Clean contact lenses regularly

Your contacts can attract allergens that then stick to their moist surface. Tiny particles collect on and underneath contacts, making regular cleaning essential to reduce your allergy symptoms. 

While some types of contacts can be worn continuously for up to 30 days, these may not be your best option during allergy season. Take your contacts out and clean them thoroughly with a disinfecting solution at least once a day. 

When cleaning your contacts more carefully and more frequently still isn’t enough to relieve your symptoms, talk to our team about switching to daily disposable lenses. Opening a fresh pair of contacts each day minimizes buildup, so it may be an effective option to help you survive allergy season.

Consider eye drops for allergies

Over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears can lubricate your eyes and help wash away irritating allergens. But using these eye drops for more than three days in a row may make symptoms worse.

Our eye doctors offer a range of prescription eye drops and other medications to minimize your allergy symptoms and keep contact lenses comfortable. Eye drops for chronic dry eye or eye redness can help reduce symptoms of seasonal allergies.

Allergy-specific eye drops work by reducing histamines in your body to stop allergic responses like itching, swelling, and redness. By reviewing your medical history and your symptoms, our team can help you develop a treatment plan that keeps you in your contacts during allergy season.

Don’t let pollen force you to wear your glasses this spring. Call the office nearest you in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties or request an appointment online today.