published Thursday, May 1st, 2014

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

By Dr. Paula Nicola

Q: What can I do to 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 over red, itchy and watery eyes:

• Avoid the avoidable. Ocular allergy testing will help you determine to what you are actually allergic. Then you can minimize your exposure.

• Stay inside on windy days if possible. The best time for allergy sufferers to be outdoors is in the evening hours 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 from your eyes. Sunglasses can reduce the chance of pollen entering the eye, and an over-the-counter antihistamine eye drop can minimize itchiness.

• Seek the advice of an ophthalmologist if you suffer from ocular symptoms with seasonal allergies 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: Submit your health-related question for a medical doctors to Wesley Holloway at wholloway@timesfreepress.com. See this space each Thursday for answers.

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