Fall or autumn is the period of the year that eases summer slowly to winter. During these last days of clear sunny skies, the temperature gradually drops in anticipation of the cold. Many people fall victim to nose, eye, or throat irritations. These are seasonal allergies or physical reactions to the change of weather.
Eye irritations or allergies in autumn often result from spores, pollen, and numerous particulates shed by plants. In the United States, the most significant blame for this condition falls on the ragweed. It grows uncontrollably and releases pollen allergens around mid-August.
Other plants that cause eye irritation in the fall include sorrel, golden rod, pigweed, and sagebrush. The release of pollen often ends towards the arrival of hard frost. However, people living in the country's southern region may have to live with this situation throughout the winter.
Falling leaves during the fall break down into rotting foliage. As they decompose, they create an ideal breeding ground for mold. With time, they release fungal spores into the air, irritating people with sensitive eyes.
One common fall season characteristic is the slow temperature drop from warm to cool. The lack of heat in your house or place of work calls for central indoor heating. Raising the temperature and closing the doors and windows makes indoor air drier than outside.
The lower indoor humidity and many hours in front of a computer screen, digital device, or television may harm your eyes. Doing this for most of your hours awake can cause eye discomfort or inflammation.
Many may not know that this extended period in front of screens reduces your blinking rate. Keeping your eyes open for long periods makes tears evaporate faster from the eye's surface, causing dry eye symptoms. Signs of the condition include:
Itchiness or irritation
The above symptoms result from histamines and chemicals that your body releases in response to allergens. They can also cause swelling and leaking of blood vessels, leading to eye inflammation.
Symptoms of eye allergies in autumn often stem from three conditions. However, you can also experience one or more of each. These conditions are atopic keratoconjunctivitis, seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, and vernal keratoconjunctivitis.
Most weeds that produce pollen during autumn do so in the morning hours. If the pollen irritates your eyes, avoid going outdoors before noon. Clear any leaves that fall around your home during this season as they can breed mold.
Extend the same activity to dead plants around your compound. If your routine involves long hours outdoors, shower multiple times to eliminate spores or pollen on your skin.
Use artificial tears or antihistamine eye drops whenever you have symptoms of the condition during autumn. Some over-the-counter eye drops contain decongestants that reduce the swelling of blood vessels.
In some cases, increased irritation might not be from seasonal allergies but instead from dry eye and its reaction to changing weather. Dry eye disease can cause discomfort year-round, but people can also experience increased discomfort during certain seasons, just like they can with eye allergies.
For more information on why my eyes are irritated in the fall, contact Westchester Eyes & Aesthetics at our office in Yonkers, New York. Call 914-586-EYES (3937) to book an appointment today.