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3 Tips to Help Prevent Eye Discomfort Indoors Due to Seasonal Allergies

Posted on May 11th, 2021

Have you ever wondered why seasonal allergy symptoms such as dry itchy eyes or eye pain sometimes affect you indoors? It could be due to the air quality in your home.

Each season presents different allergens. In spring and summer, we tend to be affected by pollen, smog and air conditioners not properly filtering indoor dust, dander, and pathogens out of your home’s atmosphere. While in fall and winter, we are affected by pollen (often weeds) and heaters drying up the space and contributing to airborne dust particles or mould.

Control the air by cleaning often, and keep an eye out for these sources of allergens:

  • Pets
  • Air vents, conditioners, and furnace filters
  • Upholstered furniture
  • Stuffed toys
  • Bedding and mattresses
  • Damp areas of the house
  • Bug droppings

There are many ways to mitigate and manage indoor eye discomfort caused by many of these pathogens. The key is to improve the quality of your indoor air. Try out these tips the next time you find yourself experiencing allergy symptoms while at home. 

Clean your filters and look into investing in a HEPA filter

The easiest way to clear the air of irritating particles is to know when to change your filters. Keep an eye on the debris buildup, like dust, in your home and replace your filters if the air circulation seems impaired. Mark down how often this happens and add a notification to your calendar. Many homes have heating and cooling vents, which makes it easier to change or clean the filters, as there is just one main filter to deal with. Often, it’s as simple as replacing an old one with a new clean one, but there are also variations that simply need a good rinse.

Check if the standard filters in your home also have a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) alternative filter available. It can be fitted to replace the standard one, or you can purchase a standalone filter tower to supplement your existing filters. This will give you more control in targeting locations to concentrate the air purification, like a bedroom or office space.

Or, you can consider a permanent HEPA air filter installation, which can continuously remove 90% of particulate matter if kept clean during its lifecycle. Capturing everything bigger than 0.3 microns or bigger in size, a HEPA filter helps with:

  • Smog (only smog particles, not smells or chemicals)
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Wildfire/smoke particles
  • Marijuana and cigarette smoke
  • Pet dander/hair
  • Mould

If your furnace or air conditioner is on the older side, it may not have a HEPA air filter in place. Check for a HEPA tag or stamp on your product, and if it does not meet this standard, look to replace it with a new one that does. It will make a tremendous difference for your allergies and in turn, your eyes.

Why do my eyes itch?

It could be your surfaces. Anything from pet dander to spores can be blown around by your furnace and air conditioning system, but these don’t work to pick up particles that have settled, so it’s important to keep the inside of your home as clean as you can. Pay special attention to rooms with return air vents, since these devices recirculate air drawn from your indoor environment. Cleaning your filters will only do so much as some of the compounds sitting on surfaces or lodged into bedding may cause additional eye discomfort if stirred up.  

Check for mould in places often exposed to moisture, like bathrooms, under-sink areas or basements.

Don’t forget to clean up crumbs and food residue, and to put fruit away instead of leaving it out on your counters, as these can sometimes lead to bug infestations. Keeping food and dirt off counters makes your home undesirable to these foragers and keeps your eyes itch-free, as bugs can trigger asthma and allergies.

Wash your pets and their bedding

Your bedding may look clean and smell good, but it’s possible for dust and particles to build up in your sheets, mattress, throw blankets, or duvets. Wash bedding every two weeks and opt for an allergy-free mattress cover.

Similarly, your pets may seem clean, but a regular bath can significantly reduce allergic reactions to their dander and hair. A pet bed deserves the same washing regularity as your own.

Your home should be a place of relaxation and rest. It’s hard to kick back when seasonal allergies make everything from watching TV to playing with your children an itchy-eyed ordeal.

If you are experiencing allergy symptoms while at home, try the tips above. If the issues persist, speak to your local FYidoctors optometrist about additional ways to alleviate your symptoms.