Hay fever sufferers could be making symptoms worse by wearing contact lenses, docs warn

CONTACT lenses can make life a lot easier.

You can see clearly without having to constantly clean your glasses, and you can do sports without worrying about breaking your specs.

But if you suffer from hay fever, your trusty lenses may be making your symptoms worse.

Your eyes will already be itchy and watery and that can make seeing in contacts harder as they swell with all the excess moisture.

The result? Blurry vision.

When allergens come into contact with your lenses, natural substances are produced excessively in your tears, says Vision Direct.

As a result, your contact lenses can become very blurry. By referring to the daily pollen count, you'll know if allergens are present. You can also ask an optician about eye drops which will alleviate the symptoms so that your contact lenses are cleaner for longer.

And of course, there's the chance that you may inadvertently trap little fragments of pollen between your eye and the contact – meaning that you can't escape the irritant.

So, what can you do to reduce your irritation?

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Reusing contacts significantly increases your risk of allergies and other foreign objects from building up on the contact surface.

By putting a new set on every day, you're reducing that risk.

Wear your glasses

But to really nip your hay fever woes in the bud, you're better of just wearing your specs.

Wearing glasses instead of contacts during particularly sensitive periods can make a big difference.

Use eye drops

There are some NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) eye drops that are specially formulated to provide temporary relief from hay fever symptoms.

Check to see if you need to apply them for a certain period before you put in your contacts as your eyes might need time to settle.

Go to your GP to ask for a prescription.

Give yourself a break

You shouldn't be wearing contacts for over 12 hours at a time and you definitely shouldn't sleep in them.

If you do suffer from hay fever, remember to give yourself from your contacts – even if it's just taking them out when you get home.

Consider immunotherapy

If you really struggle every year then you might want to consider immunotherapy.

By injecting the allergen into your arm, you will eventually develop immunity and no medication will be required to treat it.

And whatever you do, never take a shower in contacts or you could end up like Nick Humphreys.

We reported how he'd gone blind in one eye after a water-borne parasite bore into his eye from showering while wearing lenses.


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According to a poll by YouGov for the charity Fight for Sight, 56 per cent of contact lens wearers wear their contacts for longer than the recommended 12 hours a day.

54 per cent saying they'd swum or showered in them.

47 per cent said they had slept with contacts in, and 15 per cent said they'd put their contacts in their mouth to "clean" or lubricate them.

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