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Fall Allergies and How Washington Eye Doctors Can Help!

We Offer Allergy Relief for Eyes in Washington, DC

Man having trouble with allergies in Washington, DCThe weather is finally cooling down and the vibrant summer blossoms are fading. So why are your allergies getting worse?

While it won’t prevent your fall allergies or bring you allergy relief, you may feel better knowing that you’re not suffering alone. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, allergies affect over 40 million Americans, and Washington, DC, falls within the top 100 most difficult places to live with allergies!

What’s in the air that is causing so many problems?

Ragweed

Although many people associate allergies with spring and summer, fall allergy triggers are just as powerful. In the Washington, DC, area, most fall allergies are due to ragweed pollen or mold spores. While you may not see ragweed floating through the air as clearly as you saw the tree pollens during the spring, it is just as plentiful in the autumn air. In fact, when ragweed matures from late summer to early fall, one single plant can produce up to one billion pollen grains!

Mold

Mold spores breed rapidly in wet areas outdoors, such as in mounds of damp leaves. As soon as you attack your lawn with a rake, you are releasing many of these mold spores into the air – where they travel directly into your eyes.

Dust-mites

After the summer months when many school classrooms and corridors were empty, kids fill the rooms again each fall. Going back-to-school stirs up all the dust mites that settled throughout summer vacation. In addition, when it gets chilly outside and the heat is turned on for the first time, dust mites blast into the rooms along with the warm air.

Eye Symptoms from Fall Allergies

When ragweed pollen, mold and/or dust mites come into contact with your eyes, you may suffer the irritating symptoms of eye allergies. The uncomfortable (and sometimes painful) symptoms of eye allergies include redness, burning, dark circles under your eyes, swelling, itchy eyes, and watery eyes.

Allergy Relief from Our Eye Care Center in Washington, DC

When your allergies flare up, there are various effective treatments that can alleviate your symptoms. Applying cool compresses to your eyes to relieve itchiness and swelling may restore comfort. In addition, various over-the-counter medications, such as decongestant eye drops, artificial tears and/or oral antihistamines may be helpful. Be sure to consult with your eye care specialist about the particular brands that are best for your condition, as some drugs can make your symptoms worse!

When none of the above help you out, our optometrist may prescribe more potent eye drops, such as short-term steroids. Other possible treatments include immunotherapy allergy shots and prescription antihistamines. For the best allergy relief, we recommend working together with an allergist to design a personalized treatment plan.

How to Cope with Fall Allergies

When the leaves change color, it’s also the time of year that many patients seek allergy relief and visit us for eye care in Washington, DC. Our eye doctors recommend the following tips for coping with fall allergies:

  • When pollen is at its peak, stay indoors with the windows and doors shut. Generally, this occurs in late morning or mid-day. Check pollen counts in the Washington, DC, area for detailed information about when ragweed is at a high
  • Don’t turn on your heat for the first time until you change your filter and clean your vents!
  • Install a HEPA filter in your heating system. This will help remove mold spores, pollen, dust mites and other airborne irritants
  • Wear a mask and protective eyewear, such as wraparound eyeglasses or goggles, when you rake leaves or cut the grass
  • Don’t hang your laundry outside to dry, as it allows molds and pollens to collect on them
  • Use a dehumidifier to lower humidity and prevent mold from reproducing

Perhaps the most important tip we can share with you is to Never Rub Your Eyes! Eye rubbing can exacerbate any and all symptoms of eye allergies. We also advise you to remove your contact lenses if you wear them, and switch to daily disposables. Since daily disposable contacts are tossed in the garbage every night, allergens don’t have a chance to build up on the contact lens surface.

If you’re looking for allergy relief during the fall, look no further – we offer expert eye care in Washington, DC, and our eye doctors will help calm your irritated eyes.