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Eye Allergies

Eye allergies — red, itchy, watery eyes that are bothered by the same irritants that cause sneezing and a runny nose among seasonal allergy sufferers — are very common.

Normally harmless substances that cause problems for individuals who are predisposed to allergic reactions are called allergens. The most common airborne allergens that cause eye allergies are pollen, mold, dust and pet dander.

Because the surface of contact lenses can attract and accumulate airborne allergens, consider wearing only eyeglasses during allergy season. Or consider switching to daily disposable contacts that you discard after a single use to avoid the build-up of allergens and other debris on your lenses.

Allergic reaction to eyes

 

Contact lens discomfort is a common complaint during allergy season, leading some wearers to question whether they are becoming allergic to contact lenses.

The issue of being allergic to contacts also comes up from time to time when a person starts wearing silicone hydrogel contact lenses after successfully wearing standard soft (hydrogel) contact lenses and experiences allergy-like symptoms.

Studies have shown that the culprit behind eye allergies associated with contact lens wear is not an allergic reaction to the contact lens itself, but to substances that accumulate on the surface of the lenses.

In the case of switching from regular soft contacts to silicone hydrogel lenses, the surface and chemical characteristics of the lens material may attract lens deposits more readily than the previous lens material, causing discomfort.

Many eye care practitioners believe the best type of soft contact lenses for people prone to eye allergies are daily disposable lenses that are discarded after a single use, which decreases the build-up of allergens and other debris on the lens surface.

Silicone hydrogel often is the preferred lens material for these lenses, because it allows significantly more oxygen to pass through the lens, compared with conventional soft contact lens materials.

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