A Guide for Outdoor Allergy Sufferers & Contact Wearers

As an allergy sufferer, wearing contact lenses is not quite as easy as it is for your non-allergic friends. You have to worry about allergens getting trapped on your contact lenses and about the contacts irritating your eyes when they're already dry and watery from allergen exposure. But these challenges don't mean you can't wear contact lenses; you just have to be a bit more careful. Follow these tips to wear contacts more comfortably as an allergy sufferers.

Keep an eye on the pollen count.

Before you get dressed for the day, check the pollen count. If the count is low (10.0 or lower), you should be able to wear your contacts without much concern. If the count is moderate (10.0) or higher, you may want to forego wearing contacts that day—or at least be prepared to spend as little time as possible outside while you have them in.

Always keep your case and glasses on hand.

When you start to feel your eyes getting itchy in response to your allergies, it's best to just take your contacts out. Leaving them in will just make matters worse as the lenses will trap the allergens against your eyes. Keep your case and glasses on hand at all times so you can remove your lenses without hassle.

Don't be afraid to change lenses early.

If your lenses get contaminated with allergens, it may be difficult or impossible to remove the allergens with regular cleaning and rinsing. When you put them in, they may immediately cause your eyes to react with allergy symptoms. So, you need to be prepared to change our your lenses for new ones prematurely. Even if your eye doctor only recommended changing your lenses every 2 weeks, for example, you may want to switch to a new pair after 1 week if you accidentally spent a lot of time outside in them and they're now causing allergy symptoms upon insertion. Keep a few extra pairs on hand so you can make the change when needed.

Use eye drops regularly.

When you do wear your lenses, keep a bottle of contact-safe eye drops on hand. Use them regularly even when your eyes feel just fine. The drops will help rinse allergens out of your eyes before they have a chance to accumulate and cause more serious symptoms. Use the drops  after each time you go outside and return indoors, too.

To learn more about wearing contacts as an allergy sufferer, speak with resources like Family Eye Health & Contact Lens Center.