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8 Life-Saving Tips if You Wear Contact Lenses AND Suffer from Allergies

Man with contact lens allergy sneezing into napkin

Are you a contact wearer who suffers from seasonal or environmental allergies? If so, allergy season (or maybe every season) can be especially troublesome for you.

People who wear contacts and have allergies are forced to fight off dryness, redness, itchiness, puffiness and all the other unwelcome members of the 'ness' family. It can be enough to make you swear off your contact lenses forever.

Instead, take some steps to keep your eyes as comfortable as possible. Here are 8 life-saving tips if you’re a contact lens allergy sufferer.

1. Avoid Spending Too Much Time Outdoors

hay field with sunset

This tip might seem a bit obvious. But if your allergies flare up in the spring or summer, limit the amount of time you spend outdoors. The more time you spend outside while allergens are in the air, the more those allergens are going to affect you.

Allergens like dust and pollen can build up on the outside of your contact lenses. Stay inside and be proactive in preventing allergens from reaching your eyes. This way, you'll cut down on the irritation to your eyes.

Also, make sure to clean your house regularly. Dust and pollen can also build up indoors, and you don’t want to be trapped with nowhere to hide from those two baddies.

2. Use Eye Drops

One of the first allergy symptoms is eye dryness. If you don't do anything about it, irritation will start to set in. To keep dry eye at bay, use eye drops proactively and often to keep your contacts moist. When buying eye drops, go for artificial tears instead of red eye relievers. Artificial tears are much more effective.

You should also talk to your eye doctor about this. He or she will likely tell you to place drops in your eyes up to every two hours at the height of allergy season. The frequency will depend on the type of drops used. Allergens will have a really tough time sticking to your contact lenses when you rewet them often.

3. Wear Your Eyeglasses

smiling friends wearing eyeglasses

Pay close attention to weather and allergen conditions. Allergy-stricken eyes will have a tough time adjusting to the outdoors. Add contacts on top of that and you have a recipe for disaster. When the pollen count is high outside, it's a good idea to wear your glasses.

If you're outside a lot but can't handle wearing your glasses for too long, wear them for just a couple of hours at a time. This should be enough to safeguard your eyes from too much irritation. Wearing sunglasses that fit close to your face can help block pollen as well.

4. Clean Your Contacts on a Regular Basis

Your number one goal when dealing with allergens in the air? Keeping your lenses as clean as possible. Take the time to clean your contacts thoroughly during allergy season. This will help remove allergens and buildup, plus prevent further irritation.

5. Use a Peroxide Contact Lens Cleaning Solution

contact lens cleaning solution, case and tweezers

Cleaning your contact lenses in any cleaning solution is better than not cleaning them at all. That said, there are solutions that help allergy sufferers better than others do.

Contact cleaning solutions with peroxide are gentler for your eyes because they don’t have preservatives. It does involve more steps, so make sure to read the cleaning instructions on the package. It might be a bit more work, but it'll be worth it to have less eye irritation.

6. Switch to Daily Disposable Contacts

Sometimes, your lenses get coated with allergens no matter what you do. In this case, you may need to take drastic measures to solve the problem. One idea is switching to daily disposable contact lenses.

Rather than rinse your lenses off in a cleaning solution at the end of every day, you throw them out and open a new pair in the morning. This ensures your contacts are always fresh and clean, plus allergen-free.

Also, think about changing your daily disposables more than once a day. Wearing clean contacts is of utmost importance to contact lens allergy sufferers.

7. Place Cool Compresses Over Irritated Eyes

upset child with cool eye compress on forehead

You will have days when allergies flare up more than usual. So unfortunately, irritation is unavoidable at times. Placing cool compresses over your eyes will provide some much-needed relief.

Having blocked sinuses and itchy eyes can stress you out. Imagine that your eyes are fighting hard to keep irritation at bay. That's why it's important to take some time to unwind. Put your feet up, cover your eyes with a compress and relax. De-stressing can work wonders on your general health and on your tired eyes. A cool compress will bring down any swelling and give you immediate pain relief.

8. Talk to Your Eye Doctor

If you've tried everything listed here and still experience eye irritation caused by allergens, reach out to your eye doctor. He or she may be able to recommend prescription eye drops that will work better for you.

There is also a chance you could be suffering from more than just allergies. Your doctor can take a closer look at your eyes to see what's causing the incessant irritation.

Survive the Next Allergy Season

man learning about the eye from doctor

Don't let your allergies keep you down. Work at improving your mood by actively combatting the allergy symptoms that plague you. Talk to your doctor, use cold compresses and switch to daily disposable contacts to make it easier for your eyes to survive while you’re exposed to the allergens.

A little bit of planning and healthy habit forming can go a long way towards quick eye relief. Put drops in your eyes when they start acting up during allergy season and make cleaning your contacts a priority. This will reduce allergic reactions and allow you to wear your contacts all year long.

It might also be a good idea to go in for an allergy testing session. A specialized allergist will do a skin test to find out what elements you are allergic to. Knowing exactly what causes your allergic reaction can help you find specific remedies for relief.

You can always do a bit more reading about contacts and learn how to care for your allergy-battered eyes.

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