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Keep An Eye On Allergies This Season

Armen Hareyan's picture

An estimated 50 million Americans suffer from the miseries of allergies, with allergic reactions involving the eyes a common complaint. For many, symptoms of eye allergies can be so uncomfortable and irritating that they interfere with job performance, impede leisure-time and sports activities, and curtail vacations.

To help allergy sufferers better understand and manage the condition, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the leading patient organization for people with asthma and allergies, is offering a free educational brochure titled "Eye Health and Allergies."

"Approximately four percent of allergy sufferers experience eye allergies as their primary allergy, often caused by many of the same triggers as indoor/outdoor allergies such as pollen, mold, or pet dander," says Mike Tringale, Director of External Affairs, AAFA. "This brochure offers useful information on how eye allergies occur, common signs and symptoms, and practical advice on how to treat and prevent eye allergies."

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The brochure, supported by 1-DAY ACUVUE MOIST Brand Contact Lenses, also includes smart allergy season strategies for the nation's 40 million contact lens wearers, a group for whom eye allergies can use unique problems.

"Allergy sufferers who wear contact lenses that you use for two weeks or more may experience discomfort and symptoms such as ocular itching, tearing, and redness, because allergens and other irritants can build up on the lenses over time, explains New York-based Optometrist Susan Resnick, O.D., F.A.A.O. "Chemical disinfectants and preservatives used in some contact lens care systems also can cause ocular distress."

To help minimize these symptoms, contact lens wearers can limit their wearing time during allergy season, but Dr. Resnick says there is no need to discontinue contact lens wear during the allergy season.

"Studies have shown that single use contacts -- daily disposable lenses that you throw away at the end of the day -- can be a healthy and more comfortable option for many people with eye allergies," she notes. "By putting in a clean, fresh lens every day, one-day contacts minimize the potential for accumulation of allergens and irritants that can often accumulate with repeated use of the same pair of lenses."

In a three-year study comparing the clinical performance of daily disposables (1-DAY ACUVUE Brand Contact Lenses) with that of conventional daily-wear lenses, single-use lens wearers reported fewer symptoms of redness, cloudy vision, and grittiness; at the same time, they reported better vision and overall satisfaction, and had fewer lens surface deposits, complications, or unscheduled doctor's visits.