More than half of all Americans (54%) test positive to at least one of the top 10 allergens.  While some of these allergens, such as cats, dogs, mites and exhaust fumes haunt their victims year-round, other common allergens such as grass pollen and ragweed pollen thrive in the transitory spring and fall seasons.  As fall rapidly approaches, you may notice that your eyes, now a permeating red color, tear more often and frequently itch.  Or your eyes may be conversely dry and bothered by a grainy, burning sensation.  These symptoms are the result of allergens.  While you cannot rid the Midwest of these allergy-provoking elements, however, there are several ways to lessen the presence of allergens in your home and various methods available to help relieve the discomfort of your fall allergy symptoms.


Make your home allergen-free
Mold, ranked at number two on our list of top 10 allergens, feeds on the damp climate of your backyard’s unraked leaves.  Though braving the cold seems like a feat in itself, get the leaves out of your yard before fall rains turn them into an allergy nightmare.


Dust mites, ranked at the very top of our list of top 10 allergens, have a tendency to collect in comforters and pillows made of natural materials, such as down feathers or cotton.  Covering your bedding in allergy-proof encasings will minimize the presence of dust mites—and allergy symptoms—in your home.


Allergen filters for the HVAC system of your home can also help to minimize the presence of air-born allergens such as ragweed.  Dust circulation can be lessened by the use of a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter or double bag, since using a standard or water-filtered vacuum cleaner stirs dust into the air.


Further treating your allergy symptoms
If raking your leaves and covering your comforters still does not relieve your eyes of their redness and itching sensation, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss the various optical treatments available for allergy patients.


As fall’s dry climate is particularly hard on contact lens wearers (50% of contact lens wearers report dry eye symptoms), contact lens patients who are experiencing continued discomfort should also ask their doctor about appropriate rewetting and soothing drops, as well as about the recent development of contact lenses designed to improve the comfort of wearers in dry environments.


To learn more about the cause and treatment of allergy symptoms or to inquire after comfort lenses for dry eyes, please call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Ralph Gebert or Dr. Anthony Prate with The Eye Works Ltd. at (847) 381-0391 in Barrington or (847) 540-1144 in Lake Zurich.