Ask the Allergist: The Eyes Have It



contactsQ: I wear soft contact lenses and during spring allergy season my eyes often become red and itchy. Do you have any recommendations?

Martha White, MD: Spring allergies can be really tough on the eyes. Sometimes contact lenses help to keep allergens out, but once trapped under the lens, those allergens wreak havoc!

Prescription eye drops for allergies are available in both once-daily and twice-daily formulations. Before using eye drops, be sure to remove your contact lenses.

Many contact lens wearers prefer to use their once-daily drops at night before going to sleep (without their lenses). If you need daytime dosing, remove your lenses before using your eye drops, then wait for about 10 minutes before putting them on again.

Avoid rubbing your eyes – try using a cool washcloth instead. And you may feel more comfortable if you switch to glasses during spring allergy season.

Talk with a board-certified allergist or your eye doctor if you continue to experience problems. And here are more tips for keeping your eyes clear, clean and comfortable during spring allergy season.


Martha White, MD, FACAAI, is a board-certified allergist at the Institute of Asthma and Allergy in Wheaton, Md., a member of the Network’s Board of Directors, and an Allergy & Asthma Network medical editor since 1985.


Have a medical question? Email editor@allergyasthmanetwork.org or write to Ask the Allergist, Allergy & Asthma Network, 8229 Boone Blvd., Suite 260, Vienna, VA 22182