How to get relief for watery, itchy spring eye allergies

With the pollen counts through the roof right now, Smyrna optometrist Janelle Davison with Brilliant Eyes Vision Center says it may be time to take a break from your contact lenses. 

They can trap pollen close to the eye, triggering irritation. 

"Instead of wearing your contacts, by just wearing your glasses, just giving yourself a natural break, things will kind of be self-contained," Dr. Davison says. 

The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology says the most common signs of springtime eye allergies are itching, redness, burning and a clear, watery discharge. 

People with eye allergies often experience nasal symptoms, like a runny nose or nasal congestion, too. 

"If you're experiencing frequent itching, redness, or even swelling of the eyes, you definitely want to come in with your eye care provider to take a look. Just make sure it's allergies and nothing else going on," Davison says. 

Allergic conjunctivitis, a condition that triggers red, watery, itchy eyes, is common. 

"When the eyes become watery, it can affect your vision, or how well you see," Dr. Davison says. You can have swelling around the eye or in the eye itself. It could be very, very annoying, and very hard to wear contact lenses and makeup this time of the year." 

Artificial tears, eye drops and oral antihistamines, all available over the counter, may help. 

Davison recommends asking your eye doctor for guidance on which product to use. 

Track the daily pollen count, and when it is high, or the weather is dry and windy, you may want to limit your time outdoors. 

Wearing sunglasses can help keep pollen from getting in your eyes. 

Rinsing your eyes with a saline solution after being outdoors can help flush pollen out. 

Pollen, from trees, grass and weeds is the main trigger of spring eye allergies. 

Indoor allergens, such as mold, pet dander, or even dust mites, can also cause eye irritation. 

"If you're not sure if it's indoor or outdoor, a lot of times your optometrist can help facilitate a referral for an allergist," Davison says. "So that can help you understand what exactly you might be exposed to that is causing some of your allergies."