published Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Ask A Doctor: How can I keep my eyes from watering and itching so much this spring?

By Dr. Paula Nicola

Q: How can I keep my eyes from watering and itching so much this spring?

A: Seasonal allergies affect more than 35 million Americans. Tree pollen in April and May, grass pollen in June and July, and mold spores and weed pollen in July and August add up to at least six months of eye-irritating allergens. Here are ways to gain some control:

Avoid the avoidable. Ocular allergy testing helps determine what you are actually allergic to, so you can minimize exposure.

Avoid being outside on windy days. The best time for allergy sufferers to be outdoors is in the evening after a rain storm.

Limit contact lens wear. Take your lenses out each night and clean them.

Be nice to your eyes. Cool artificial tears can flush pollen out. Sunglasses can reduce the chance of pollen entering the eye, and an over-the-counter antihistamine eye drop can minimize itchiness. For those suffering from ocular symptoms with seasonal allergies, seek the advice of an ophthalmologist. Ocular allergy testing also can tailor your treatment to the specific offending environmental allergen.

— Dr. Paula Nicola, EyeCare Chattanooga; member, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society

Readers: To submit a health-related question for a medical doctor, email it to Wesley Holloway at wholloway@timesfreepress.com.

See this space each week for answers.

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