College of Optometrists issues advice for those with hay fever as temperatures rise

  • 7 Apr 2017

The UK looks set to enjoy soaring temperatures and the Met office is predicting high levels of air pollen.

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The College of Optometrists has issued advice to those who suffer from hay fever, which can often affect the eyes:

  • Avoid your exposure to pollen, by closing windows and keeping surfaces clear with a damp duster, especially at the start and end of the day when pollen levels are highest.
     
  • Wear sunglasses when outside, which can help to protect your eyes from dust and pollen.
     
  • Visit your optometrist or pharmacist for advice and to get medicated eye drops to help alleviate itching and swelling.
     
  • If you wear contact lenses, remember to check if you can use the drops when you are wearing your lenses. When the pollen count is very high, it can be more comfortable to wear spectacles rather than contact lenses. You may also feel more comfortable by avoiding wearing contact lenses when you are gardening, particularly when mowing the lawn, as grass particles and pollen can become stuck behind the lens and cause discomfort.
     
  • If your eyes become dry, seek professional advice from your optometrist, pharmacist or GP. They may prescribe lubricating eye drops to ease the dryness.

Daniel Hardiman McCartney, Clinical Advisor at the College of Optometrists, said; “With an increase in temperature, we are likely to see pollen levels rise, indeed the Met office has predicted high levels this weekend. While trying to avoid pollen as much as possible will help lessen the symptoms, sufferers can also visit their optometrist to get medicated eye drops to help alleviate the itching and swelling. In terms of long-term hay fever management, often people don’t realise that using eye drops before their symptoms appear can minimise the impact of hay fever on the eyes. So, if you know which type of pollen you are allergic to, you can consult the College’s infographic and take the appropriate medication ahead of time to help prevent the symptoms developing or lessen the affect.”

Hay fever is the term used when a person has an allergic reaction to pollen. It is one of the most common allergic conditions and often causes eyes to be red, itchy and swollen. It is estimated that there are more than 10 million people with the allergy in England. The most common symptoms of hay fever are itchy eyes and nose, sneezing, runny or blocked nose and difficulty breathing.

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

  1. The letters FCOptom or MCOptom after an optometrist’s name means that he or she is a fellow or member of the College of Optometrists. Membership of the College shows optometrists commitment to the very highest clinical, ethical and professional standards, so look for these letters to see if your optometrist is a member.
     
  2. For information and advice about how to look after your eyes visit: www.lookafteryoureyes.org
     
  3. Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are trained professionals who examine eyes, test sight, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and dispense spectacles or contact lenses. They also recommend other treatments or visual aids where appropriate. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye diseases, referring such cases as necessary, and can also use or supply various eye drugs.
     
  4. Optometrists study at university for at least three years and participate in a full year of training and supervision, called the pre-registration year, before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, treating eye diseases, low vision, children’s vision and sports vision.
     
  5. The College is the professional body for optometry. It qualifies the profession and delivers the guidance and training to ensure optometrists provide the best possible care. We promote excellence through the College’s affixes, by building the evidence base for optometry, and raising awareness of the profession with the public, commissioners, and health care professionals.

 

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