September 30, 2020
If you’re one of the millions who suffer from seasonal allergies, you may think the worst part of the year is behind you. Every spring, your entire system goes haywire. Trees, grasses, flowers – they all team up to make you completely miserable. Once everything starts to bloom, allergies attack every part of your head, including your eyes. So why do you feel every bit as awful in October as you did in April?
Believe it or not, fall is full of airborne allergens as well. Although they may come from different sources, seasonal fall allergies can be just as debilitating as their springtime cousins. Once these microscopic invaders enter your eyes, you can experience the same itchy, watery, irritated redness you struggled with in the spring. Knowledge is power, so trust the team at Pro-Optix Eye Care to bring you up to speed with a primer on the most common fall allergies.
Ragweed is a major cause of allergic reactions in the fall. This abundant plant covers most of the United States, spreading pollen from late August until the first significant cold snap of the season. It’s one of the prime causes of hay fever, which causes sneezing, a runny, stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes. 75% of people who react to spring pollen will also respond to ragweed. Your eye doctor may suggest antihistamine eye drops to combat the symptoms, especially if you aren’t able to get relief with oral medications.
Mold production will also skyrocket in the fall, mainly due to leaves and other vegetation that drops to the ground and begins to decay. This is an ideal environment for mold production. If you think that staying on top of the chore of raking your leaves may help, you’d be mistaken. Raking leaves brings its own problems – stirring up the mold and pollen will cause the spores and particles to float through the air, bringing them closer to your eyes. One of the best ways to reduce your exposure to these allergens is to wear a mask and eye shields when you head out to rake the lawn. Make sure to choose a pair like these, which will fit comfortably over your latest designer frames.
Not all fall allergens lurk outside. During the fall, environmental factors inside your home can irritate your eyes as well. Dust mites are microscopic organisms that feed on the flakes of human skin that you’ll shed naturally as you move about your home. Although dust mites are present all year, the fall temperatures hovering in the 60’s and 70’s and comfortable humidity levels make them more active and plentiful. To combat these tiny pests, make sure clean your air vents thoroughly throughout the house before turning on your central heating for the first time each fall season. Use dust-proof covers on your mattresses and pillows, because dust mites love to hide in bedding. It’s a good idea to wash bedding with the highest temperature water the fabric can tolerate. It’s also helpful to vacuum and dust as often as possible.
Lower humidity levels in your home and office can also be the culprit if your eyes become itchy, red, gummy or watery. The ideal humidity range is between 35 and 50 percent, but most indoor spaces can drop as low as 16 percent. Low humidity can pull moisture from the mucous membranes, causing inflammation and irritation. If your humidity level is too low, use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. However, be sure not to add too much moisture. If your humidity level goes above 50 percent, use a dehumidifier to reduce your moisture percentage – our “friends” the dust mites love high humidity. By keeping the moisture within the ideal range, we’ll keep them from thriving.
If you think you or your family members suffer from eye irritation brought on by fall allergies, don’t wait to visit your optometrist. Eye care is so much more than a vision exam; our knowledgeable eye doctors and helpful staff are here to help everyone in the Tanglewood/Galleria Area combat “allergy eyes” this fall. Call Pro-Optix Eye Care at 713-360-7095 today!
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