Allergies & Contact Lenses
Allergies cause problems for many Australians every year. For those who wear contact lenses, there are strategies for reducing discomfort.
Hundreds of thousands of Australians suffer from seasonal allergies, experiencing the discomfort of red, itchy, or watery eyes, as well as other symptoms such as sneezing and itching. During the allergy seasons of spring and summer, many people who wear contact lenses report eye discomfort due to allergies.
What types of allergies affect my eyes and contact lenses?
Allergens that you encounter can be airborne allergens such as grass, tree and weed pollens. People who are sensitive to these suffer from seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, the most common eye allergy. Other common eye allergens include pet hair, mould found in moist rooms, pollution and dust mites. These allergens can trigger symptoms for people throughout the year.
Overcoming allergy discomfort
- Allergies can adhere to the thin surface of contact lenses, so swapping them for glasses for periods of time, particularly during times of extreme discomfort is recommended.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses when outside conditions are hot, dry and dusty, or during hay fever season.
- Wearing sunglasses at the same time as your contact lenses may help protect your eyes from dust and pollen circulating in the air.
- Avoid wearing contact lenses when you are mowing the lawn or gardening.
- When the pollen count is very high, switch to wearing glasses rather than contact lenses to avoid irritation.
- If your eyes become sore and red take out your lenses immediately.
- Take advantage of daily contact lenses; replacing them daily reduces the chances of protein build up that can lead to sore, irritated eyes.