The humidity is finally gone, the leaves are turning brilliant colors, and the days are getting shorter. Fall is in full, beautiful swing. Unfortunately, fall also brings allergens and an increased risk of UV damage. Find out what to do when your eyes get red and itchy, or when you're squinting into a bright fall sunset.
ITCHING, REDNESS, AND WATERING
Image via Flickr by TheNoxid
Does your allergy season seem to go straight to your eyes? Fall causes a lot of issues: some people cough, some have perpetually runny noses, and some have puffy, red eyes that won't stop watering and itching. The same allergens cause all these symptoms in different people. If this is happening to you, don't worry; there's nothing permanently wrong with your eyes. See the eye doctor to make sure everything else checks out, and then concentrate on managing your allergy symptoms. An antihistamine may be all you need to clear up irritating eye allergy symptoms. If that doesn't solve your eye issues, let your eye doctor know. He or she may prescribe eye drops to help with the problem and may also be able to narrow down what's causing the most eye irritation.
AUTUMN UV LIGHT
The sun shifts position in the sky all year-round thanks to the tilt of the earth. In autumn and winter, it's not directly above your head. Rather, it shines at an angle, which can be more harmful to your vision because your brow bone doesn't shield as well against it. Summer is the time when people most often don sunglasses, but you should carry this practice into the fall and winter. Any time the sun is shining enough to give you a long shadow, wear your UV protective lenses or a hat with a brim. The accumulation of optic UV damage can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.
CONTACT WEARERS, TAKE EXTRA CARE
All that pollen and mold that irritate your eyes so much can build up on the surface of your lenses, even with proper cleaning. Though it's rare, sometimes the accumulation on your lenses can cause a couple different forms of conjunctivitis. Your sclera might turn pink, your eyelids might swell up, or your eyes might start producing a lot of gunk. See your eye doctor if you notice any of these symptoms so you can get the infection cleared up straight away. Prescription eye drops and a rest from lenses usually does it. This doesn't mean you're allergic to your lenses, just to the gunk that's trapped on them. If you have autumn allergies and want to prevent a contact-induced infection, visit your doctor and ask to switch to daily disposable lenses. Daily disposable contacts are the easiest way to ensure no allergens are building up. Any time you have a question about your eye health, your eye doctor is the best resource. Keep track of your allergy symptoms and monitor how they affect your eyes, and always protect your eyes from the sun. Stay healthy throughout the fall so you can enjoy seeing the leaves for decades to come.