When the sun is shining and the flowers are in bloom, there’s nothing better than enjoying the outdoors. Until suddenly your eyes start streaming and your nose starts running. Sound familiar? We constantly get asked about wearing contact lenses during the spring and summer months when the pollen count is at its highest. Despite what many people think, you can continue to wear contact lenses during hayfever season.
Hay fever is a nose inflammation caused by the immune system overreacting to aerial allergens. If you experience it you’ll be dreading a whole lot of sniffling, sneezing and itching eyes. For a full list of symptoms, visit the NHS Choices website.
Hay fever Hacks
We’ve put together a list of our top tips for contact lens wearers who are affected by all that pesky pollen.
Check the forecast
The Met Office provides a great pollen forecast tool to help you check the pollen count in your area. It’s also important to know which type of pollen affects you most. The three main types of pollen which trigger hay fever are: tree pollen, grass pollen and weed pollen. You may find you are particularly affected by a certain kind.
Each variant is most common at different periods of the spring/summer:
- Tree pollen: late March - mid May
- Grass pollen: mid May - July
- Weed Pollen: late June – September
Remove all traces!
We can’t overstress this point. Whether you’re a clean freak or a once-in-a-blue-moon spring cleaner, for contact lens wearers, the hay fever season makes thorough cleaning a must to remove traces of pollen which can further affect you.
After being outside in high pollen levels ensure you thoroughly wash your clothes as pollen can get trapped within clothing fibres, and wash your hands regularly, otherwise you can end up rubbing pollen into your eyes or nose by mistake.
Your eyes and nose are often most affected by hay fever symptoms so wash them regularly, eye washes can come in handy too.
Correct storage and cleaning
This will also help reduce your symptoms, as there is less opportunity for pollen, dust or any other allergens to build up. To find out how, visit our contact lens care page.
Use Daily disposable contact lenses
These lenses are thrown away at the end of the day, meaning potentially damaging allergens or irritating build-ups are avoided. For more practical steps visit our eye care centre article on managing hay fever.
Eye drops are used to soothe irritated or dry eyes caused by contact lenses, but they can also be used to reduce the effects of hay fever. Anti-allergy eye drops are also great - but check whether they are suitable to use with contact lenses. For some, you may need to apply them and wait a few minutes before putting in your lenses.