Autumn Allergies and Your Eyes

SAN DIEGO, CALIF (August 26, 2016) - The dog days of summer are here, when thoughts turn to autumn leaves, football games and crisp fall temperatures. But don’t put away your sunglasses and allergy meds yet - autumn also means seasonal allergens and even stronger UV rays, which can cause problems for your eyes.

“People tend to associate allergies with spring and sun damage with summer, yet both are issues to be mindful of in the fall, too,” says Sandy T. Feldman MD, Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center in San Diego and one the nation’s top ophthalmologists.

Dr. Feldman offers some handy tips for navigating the change of season ahead:

Seasonal Allergies

Fall can stir up airborne allergens such as pollen, mold, dust and pet dander, causing some people to cough, wheeze, get runny noses and/or experience red, itchy, watery eyes. Whatever the symptoms, allergies can make you miserable.

“Try to narrow down the source of your allergies by keeping track of your symptoms, then do your best to avoid that particular irritant,” Dr. Feldman suggests. “You can also wear sunglasses and drive with your windows closed to minimize allergens. An over-the-counter antihistamine can help, too.”

Contact Lenses

Pollen and mold can build up on the surface of contact lenses, even with proper care and cleaning, sometimes leading to conjunctivitis (pink-eye). See your eye doctor if you develop any kind of eye infection; prescription eye drops and a brief hiatus from wearing lenses usually clears up the problem.

“If you have chronic eye problems caused by allergies, you might consider disposable lenses, which is the easiest way to prevent allergen build-up,” says Dr. Feldman.

Ultra-Violet Rays

Even if it’s autumn and the skies are overcast, ultra-violet (UV) rays can penetrate cloud cover and inflict about the same amount of sun damage as on a clear summer day. In the fall and winter, the sun also shines down at more of an angle, potentially causing greater harm to your eyes.

“Bottom line is, you should always wear sunglasses, no matter what the season,” says Dr. Feldman.

Eye Safety First!

Raking leaves? Don’t forget to wear goggles or other eye protection. That goes for cleaning out the garage, barbecuing, gardening and other common activities, too. Half of all eye injuries occur when doing things like everyday household chores, and 90 percent of these injuries are preventable with proper eye protection.

“Whether it’s allergies or sun damage or anything else related to your eyes, your eye doctor is your best resource,” Dr. Feldman advises. “Take some simple steps to keep your eyes healthy and you’ll be seeing colorful autumn leaves for decades to come.”

About Sandy T. Feldman, MD
Sandy T. Feldman, MD is the Medical Director of Clearview Eye & Laser Medical Center - voted best LASIK center in San Diego by San Diego Union-Tribune readers in 2016 - and has successfully performed more than 20,000 refractive procedures. Her numerous awards include “Top Doc San Diego” and the Goldline Award, an honor granted to only 10 laser eye care providers in the U.S. each year, and she has been profiled in Forbes, Newsweek, and other respected publications. Dr. Feldman is a fellow of the prestigious American and European College of Ophthalmic Surgeons, as well as a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. For more information, please visit

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