Allergy can cause inflammation of the surface of the eye and is common in summer, especially in those who suffer from allergies. Pollens from grasses, trees and weeds are the main offenders and cause itch, redness, irritation and watering of the eyes.
Try to avoid pollens by staying indoors when the pollen count is high, with doors and windows closed. Bathe the eyes with cold water or use cold compresses for relief.
Artificial tears or over-the-counter antihistamine eye drops (with or without a decongestant to reduce redness) may be of use. In more severe cases your doctor may prescribe a preventer medication or short-term use of steroid drops.
Now a new type of eye drop for allergy is available from your doctor on prescription.
Dry eyes becomes more frequent as we age and as our tear production reduces. It can cause redness, burning, stinging or a gritty feeling. This condition often occurs after the menopause and with some forms of arthritis. Some medications (eg antihistamines), air conditioning, sun, wind and eye surgery can also cause it.
Dry eyes has no cure, but can usually be managed with the frequent use of artificial teardrops which lubricate or moisten the eye surface. Lubricating gels and ointments can be used at night. These are available on the PBS or over the counter.
Bowls of water in an air-conditioned room and sunglasses to protect the eyes from sun and wind can also help.
In severe cases, the tiny tear duct that drains the tears into the nose can be plugged or permanently closed. See your doctor if your symptoms persist.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.