Although there’s a pandemic going on right now, there’s also something else that happens every year: allergy season. Yes, the time that brings sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes are back, and with a vengeance here in Hawaii.
If you’re an allergy sufferer, then you already know that it’s allergy season. What you may not know is that this is one of the worst times of the year to wear contact lenses.
Combine that with a virus that spreads due to person to person contact, and this doesn’t really seem like the best time to wear your contacts. Keep reading to find out if it’s a good idea to wear contact lenses right now!
You can wear your contacts during coronavirus but should you?
Look, we’re already under stay-at-home orders from coast to coast but it’s not like there’s someone that will knock on your door and tell you not to wear your contacts during the pandemic. If that does happen, you might want to hide because it’s not normal!
All jokes aside, wearing your contact lenses right now might not be the best idea ever. Part of this is because when you wear contact lenses, you will touch your eyes and your face more often.
One of the key ways that coronavirus is spread is by touching your face, eyes, mouth, and nose. When you wear your contacts, you need to touch your face.
It’s necessary to put your contacts in, as well as take them out at night. You can see the problem then since you’re not supposed to be touching your face, or at least trying not to.
Another reason you may want to switch to your glasses during the pandemic is they could give you a shield from the virus. It’s very unlikely that COVID-19 could enter through your eyes, but it’s not impossible, either.
If wearing your contacts during the pandemic makes you nervous, there’s no reason you can’t switch to your glasses and reduce your anxiety. After all, this is one of the few things you can actually control right now!
Pollen is everywhere during allergy season
Even though allergy season hits every spring without fail, many people in Honolulu that wear contact lenses rarely think about how it affects them. Besides the pandemic, this is not a great time for contact lenses because there is pollen everywhere.
Pollen could be in your hair, in your house, on top of your car, or even on your pets! Pollen gets on everything and sometimes feels like it will never come off.
For people that don’t have allergies, they’ve probably never even thought about all the pollen they see every spring. But for those with allergies, it’s war.
Now, if you’re someone that has allergies, you know that pollen is the worst. Yes, it’s great that flowers and plants produce it, but it has dire consequences!
Not only does it end up everywhere, but it means severe symptoms like sniffling, sneezing, watery or achy eyes, and coughing, to name just a few.
Allergy season and contact lenses don’t mix
It’s not much fun. If you wear contact lenses during allergy season, you are only setting yourself up for despair. There is a certain amount of touching and handling that goes into wearing contact lenses.
At an absolute minimum, you have to touch them at least two times a day. This is problematic during allergy season because chances are very high that you have pollen on your hands.
Now the pollen that was on your hands is on your contact lenses. Once you put the contacts in your eyes, the pollen is now in your eyes.
If pollen gets in your eyes, it’s only going to make your allergy symptoms worse, because pollen is an allergen. If you thought your allergy symptoms were miserable before, wait until you experience them after getting pollen in your eyes!
It’s going to be a whole new level of misery, pain, and discomfort that makes your previous symptoms look like a piece of cake.
How you can prepare this allergy season
The most obvious way to prepare this allergy season, of course, is to not wear your contacts right now. When you wear your glasses instead of your contact lenses, you don’t have to touch your eyes as much and you reduce the chance that you’ll get pollen in your eyes.
If you refuse to stop wearing your contact lenses during allergy season, there are some other things you can try.
Take your allergy medication before symptoms hit
If you know that allergy season is hitting and it’s hitting hard, it would be smart to start taking your allergy medication before your symptoms hit. If you only take medication when your symptoms start, your body doesn’t have enough time to prepare.
Give yourself a week to two weeks to start taking something like an anti-histamine so it has time to be properly absorbed by your body. As your doctor if you’re not sure if it’s safe or how to pre-treat your allergy symptoms.
Deep clean your home
Does your house feel dusty or dirty? You don’t want it to feel this way before allergy season is in full swing.
Now is actually the perfect time to do a deep clean of your house. This means cleaning your bed linens and covers, vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning out any air vents.
Once allergy season does start, you’ll need to do this again, but starting with a clean house can mean your symptoms won’t be as severe in the beginning.
Stock up on artificial tears and eye drops
Another common symptom that allergy sufferers experience during allergy season is dry eyes. If you know that your eyes get dry or uncomfortable when it’s allergy season, now is the time to buy artificial tears and eye drops.
Using these helps alleviate symptoms of dry eye because they flush the allergen or irritant out of your eye. There are a lot of options for artificial tears and eye drops out there, so ask your eye doctor for recommendations if you’re not sure which ones you should buy!
Having them on hand is a great idea because you never know when dry or itchy eyes are going to hit. The last thing you want to do is rub your eyes when they feel gritty or uncomfortable, since it may push the allergen further into your eye.
Rubbing your eyes won’t solve the problem, and in fact, causes more harm than good, so you should avoid rubbing your eyes when possible!
Concerned about your eye health right now? Sugiki Portis Yim Eye Center is here to help! Request an appointment with one of our doctors in Honolulu, HI today!