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Hay fever: How contact lens wearers can cope better with allergies – Encyclopedia for Medicine & Health

Hay fever: How contact lens wearers can cope better with allergies

When the wind blows the first pollen in late February or March, allergy sufferers are alarmed. Their noses begin to run, their eyes swell and water, and at times they even catch their breath. Itching in the nose or eyes is the smallest problem here.

They avoid the great outdoors, get antihistamines from the pharmacy and wait for the annoying phase to pass. Your quality of life seems severely diminished for a few days or weeks. Anyone who wears contact lenses in addition to all the stressful symptoms of ‘hay fever’ sometimes does without the advantages of the lens during the critical time.

Because the pollen feels like grains of sand in the eye – all other foreign bodies are to be strictly avoided. But if certain conditions are taken into account, contact lens wearers can get through the hay fever months well .

What actually is hay fever?

Hay fever is generally an allergic reaction by the body to the products of the flowers’ male reproductive organs – the stamens. Usually once, but sometimes several times a year, these produce a large amount of pollen, which is transferred either by the wind or by insects to the female reproductive organs – the pistil with style and stigma.

Pollen is chemically composed of proteins and is identified by the immune system of allergy sufferers as dangerous foreign substances. Their bodies try to get rid of them or at least decimate them by coughing , tears and sneezing . To ensure this, the mucous membranes in the throat , throat and nose swell.

The cornea and conjunctiva of the eye redden and are prepared to defend themselves. Hay fever can be seasonal to a very specific plant or year-round to various allergens in the house (such as dust mite excretions or animal dander and animal hair ).

What about wearing contact lenses for hay fever?

Anyone who can manage well with contact lenses all year round can wear their contact lenses during the allergic days, weeks and months. It makes no difference to his immune system whether they are on the cornea or not. The point is simply to decide whether the contact lens wearer feels better subjectively during the critical time without contact lenses.In the case of severe allergies, i.e. severe swelling, redness or severe itching , it is probably easier to do without contact lenses. Above all, the constant temptation to rub your eyes with your hands to suppress the itching only makes it worse. In all other cases, however, the contact lenses can be worn if a few facts are taken into account.

Hard or soft?

Confident contact lens wearers who are allergic to pollen use alternative lenses during the critical period, i.e. they change their lenses more frequently (monthly, daily lenses). Many of them are allergic to the pollen of just one or two plants, which is easier to overcome leaves than a general pollen allergy. By switching to alternative lenses, a week or two of pollen can easily be survived.

Daily lenses in particular provide the eye with more moisture and are more hygienic than monthly or annual lenses that have to be cleaned every day. Daily lenses are a very good alternative for sensitive wearers all year round and are a great help for allergy sufferers in the critical time.

Many people don’t tolerate hard contact lenses as well as soft ones, as they are generally perceived as more of a foreign object. If foreign objects such as dust or hair get into the eye, they can slip under the lens more easily with hard lenses and irritate the cornea. Soft contact lenses are usually so well tolerated that the wearer does not even notice their presence.

But they are considered less healthy in professional circles because they dry out the eyes more. In the case of allergies, however, there are different requirements when it comes to choosing hard or soft contact lenses. Due to the porous material, soft lenses are more permeable to both oxygen and allergens.

Furthermore, residues of cleaning and storage solutions, but above all of often incompatible preservatives, can settle in these pores and further reduce tolerance during the allergy period. For example, allergic contact lens wearers are advised to only use wetting and cleaning agents that are free of preservatives.

moisture instead of tears

Natural tears and regular blinking are usually enough to keep the eye moist. However, contact lens wearers are familiar with the problem that the eye becomes increasingly dry during the day and even blinking is perceived as uncomfortable. When wearing lenses, the moistening by the natural tear fluid no longer works optimally, which is why many contact lens wearers use moistening drops.

From a chemical point of view, these are very similar to human tears and moisten the eye with every blink. We recommend that contact lens wearers with allergies use these moisturizing drops regularly. This will flush pollen and fractions of pollen out of the eye.

Proper cleaning

Since pollen residues settle on the contact lenses without being visible to the naked eye, the lenses of allergy sufferers have to be cleaned all the more carefully and conscientiously. Especially lenses that are worn for a month or longer must be completely freed from allergens. The deposits on the surface of the lens already irritate the eyes of non-allergy sufferers.

In addition to the allergic reaction , the eyes of allergy sufferers, which are already under stress , are burdened by these deposits. Lentils need to be cleaned and sprinkled with a wetting solution several times a day during the pollen season. We recommend that allergic contact lens wearers use special protein removers, which reliably remove pollen and its residues from the surface of the lens.

Protection for the eye

In order to ensure that contact lenses are comfortable to wear, it must be remembered that the eyes of contact lens wearers are more sensitive to light than the eyes of those who wear glasses. Contact lenses allow more light to reach the cornea and through the pupil to the lens than glasses. So it is urgently recommended for everyone to wear sunglasses outdoors, where attention must be paid to the quality of the lenses (UV radiation!).

Don’t save in the wrong place here. This is even more true for contact lens wearers who are allergic. An irritated eye should not experience any additional stress. In a purely mechanical way, sunglasses can also block the way for many pollen into the eye or at least make it difficult for them to penetrate. Here, too, the glasses must be cleaned regularly, because even after a few hours, the pollen residues can trigger allergic reactions.

Conclusion

If the allergic contact lens wearer’s eyes are extremely irritated, he or she is best off not wearing contact lenses and using prescription glasses or prescription sunglasses when outdoors. In all other cases, if the above recommendations are observed, it is not a must to do without the lenses during the critical period.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.