Another year for the UK to fight  hayfever season with the pollen count and temperature rising, eyes will be itching and nose will start to run.

The Met Office states that 1 out of 5 hayfever victims in the UK can anticipate a very frustrating experience of uncomfortable symptoms roughly until September or even beyond.

But a renowned eye specialist hospital group,Optegra  states that there are helpful ways we can follow to lessen the effect on our eyes. Watery, red, itchy eyes (allergic conjunctivitis as doctors call it) are the main typical symptoms of hayfever.

Such irritation of the eyes can be a real cause of physical and emotional distress, often interfering with daily activities, work and sleep.  It is important that hayfever sufferers take positive steps to reduce their exposure to pollen and the unpleasant effect it can have on the eyes.

Mr Robert Morris, Medical Director for Optegra, says: “We see all kinds of eye conditions in our hospitals, some very serious, but one thing is for sure, any condition that causes a change or irritation in the eye can have a huge impact on the individual.  This is certainly true with hayfever.  The persistent itchiness experienced during pollen season can be frustrating, limiting and sometimes simply unbearable.

“While pharmacists and GPs can recommend appropriate treatments, there are practical steps that hayfever sufferers can take, such as wearing wrap-around sunglasses to shield the eyes and carefully rinsing eyes on a regular basis, to help relieve symptoms and protect their eyes.”

Hayfever sufferer, Mike Sutton, age 41, comments:  “Sore eyes has got to be the worst symptom of hayfever and anything that can help prevent or relieve the symptoms has to be welcomed.  You can’t ignore the irritation and as a result it affects everything you do.  It’s a permanent cause of distraction, both at work and at home, as the urge to really rub your eyes is always there.  And if you rub your eyes, the irritation becomes even worse! It’s also something that can make you very self-conscious.  Red eyes stand out like a sore thumb and hiding them behind dark glasses is not always an option, particularly at work.”

Optegra top tips for healthy eyes this hayfever season

Wear wrap-around sunglasses to shield eyes from pollen in the air
Try not to touch your eyes and certainly do not rub them
Wash your hands regularly to ensure that they are pollen free, particularly if you have been outside
Rinse your eyes regularly to ensure they are pollen free
Keep windows and doors shut to limit pollen entering the house
Keep car windows shut when driving – use air con instead
Contact lens wearers should take a break from their lenses when hayfever symptoms appear
Go make-up free when symptoms are at their worst to avoid additional irritants entering the eyes
Avoid mowing the grass or working in the garden
If possible, change your clothes when coming in from outside to prevent the spread of pollen within the house
Visit your pharmacist or GP for advice on treatments for the eyes.