The leaves are changing colors, the air is getting cooler, and pumpkin spice everything is back—fall is here!
With each new season there are changes in the air and in your surroundings that can affect your eyes. Allergies are always the quick answer when things go awry with your vision at the same time a season changes, but in the fall, allergies are just one of the few irritants. From fewer daylight hours to the dry, cold air, fall is a beautiful season to listen to your eyes and any concerns that the seasonal changes bring.
Let’s start with allergies. As pollen counts rise (this is in the fall too thanks to Ragweed!), so do the number of people who suffer from seasonal allergies. Allergic reactions can cause itchy, watery eyes and even swollen eyelids. If you’re someone who suffers from seasonal allergies, make sure you’re taking the necessary steps to reduce your exposure to allergens and keep your allergies under control. Ragweed is the biggest allergy trigger in the fall, so while the leaves are gorgeous you may want to stay indoors when pollen counts are high, use an air purifier at home if you are opting to have the windows open, and avoid rubbing your eyes.
Another fall irritant for your eyes is dry air. When the weather outside is dry and cold, the air inside is often just as dry. This can lead to dry eye syndrome, a condition in which your eyes don’t produce enough tears or they produce tears that evaporate too quickly. Symptoms of dry eye include burning, itching, redness, and blurred vision. To help combat dry eye this fall, try using a humidifier in your home or office to add moisture to the air. You can also use artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to help keep your eyes moist throughout the day. And, be sure to blink often! Blinking helps spread tears over the surface of your eye and keeps them from evaporating too quickly.
Finally, another fall change that can affect your eyes is less daylight. With shorter days and longer nights, you may find yourself spending more time indoors under artificial lights. This can lead to eye fatigue and even headaches. To help combat these symptoms, take regular breaks throughout the day to give your eyes a break from screens and other bright lights. Every 20 minutes or so, look away from whatever you’re looking at and focus on something else in the room for at least 20 seconds. And when you can, get outside during daylight hours to give your eyes a break from indoor lights. Just a few minutes of natural light can help refresh tired eyes.
If you’re already doing all of these things and you’re still struggling with vision issues, talk to your eye doctor about other options such as allergy shots or prescription medication. By taking some preventative measures, you can help reduce your symptoms and enjoy all that fall has to offer.