Pollen bomb: looking after your sight and hearing during the changing weather

(Last Updated On: March 30, 2022)

South Devon hay fever sufferers are being warned to watch out for rising pollen counts this week as the warmer weather returns.

Those with allergies in Torbay, Teignbridge and the South Hams may find themselves succumbing to sneezing, headaches, itchy eyes and even inflamed ears in the next few days, but experts at Specsavers have offered tips on how to best ease symptoms.

Specsavers Clinical Services Director, Giles Edmonds, says: ‘As well as sneezing and a blocked or runny nose, hay fever can also cause red, itchy or watery eyes, which can be particularly problematic for contact lens wearers.

‘Those who wear contact lenses may notice the vision through their lenses can appear smeary and eyes can generally feel uncomfortable. While it can be tempting to rub your eyes to ease discomfort, it’s important to refrain. Try not to touch your face and ensure you maintain good hand hygiene, particularly while the pandemic continues.

‘However, there are some things contact lens wearers can try to help reduce the irritation. Contact lens-friendly eye drops can help to calm down any itchiness and wearing prescription glasses – particularly wraparound sunglasses – can prevent pollen from getting into your eyes. Those suffering with hay fever could also try daily disposable lenses.’

When it comes to the impact on our ears, Specsavers chief audiologist, Gordon Harrison, adds: ‘Allergic reactions can affect the lining of the middle ear via the Eustachian tube, which links the middle ear to the nose and throat. If this becomes blocked it can lead to a build-up in pressure, which can cause discomfort, popping in the ears, earache and impair your ability to hear.

‘To avoid irritation, try putting a balm like Vaseline around the nose to trap pollen, and vacuum and dust your home regularly, or you can try over-the-counter allergy relief. Staying inside when the pollen count is high will also help to avoid irritation and showering and changing your clothes when you get home will help to remove pollen from skin and hair.’

With the clocks having just gone forward, Specsavers is also reminding people to stay safe from the sun’s glare while driving.

Mr Edmonds adds: ‘Polarised lenses are a good option for driving in daylight as they eliminate glare from horizontal surfaces, such as roads and water. They also offer 100% UV protection, improve contrast and help ease the strain on your eyes, so they are particularly good for driving in bright conditions. Polarising lenses can sometimes affect the viewing of LCD displays though, so that’s something to bear in mind when wearing them.’

For more information or to request an appointment at your local store, visit www.specsavers.co.uk or for more information on eye health and hay fever visit https://www.specsavers.co.uk/eye-health/hay-fever.

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