The spring weather brings warmer temperatures, sunnier days, cherry blossom blooms and greener pastures.

But for many people, it also means the start of the dreaded hay fever season when the pollen count is high. 

Hay fever can cause a great deal of discomfort for sufferers, with one of the main symptoms being itchy eyes.

That’s why we have shared a few tips you can follow to help soothe sore eyes from eye health specialist and ophthalmologist Alastair Lockwood at Feel Good Contacts.

The Northern Echo: The Met Office can tell you what the pollen count is in your area each dayThe Met Office can tell you what the pollen count is in your area each day (Image: Canva)

What is hay fever?

Hay fever is the common name for allergic rhinitis, an allergy that arises when the body overreacts to allergens and causes inflammation in the nose.

The allergy is often suffered at certain times of the year, and typically reoccurs each year for sufferers.

This type of hay fever is referred to as ‘seasonal’, while some people also suffer from ‘perennial hay fever’, which occurs all year round.

Hay fever is said to affect one in five people during their lives and is a common problem that can get in the way of your day-to-day life.

However, if you understand the cause behind the condition, when you’re at your biggest risk and the treatments are available, you’ll be much better prepared come spring and summertime.

How do you stop itchy eyes from allergies?

Limit exposure

It’s worth remembering that the pollen count is typically higher earlier in the morning and in the evenings during spring and summer time. If possible, try to leave the house outside of these times. If you are staying in, it’s a good idea to keep the windows closed to prevent pollen from getting in.

The Met Office can tell you what the pollen count is in your area that day, so it’s worth checking this before you venture out.

The Northern Echo: It can often be hard to tell if you have a cold or hay feverIt can often be hard to tell if you have a cold or hay fever (Image: Canva)


Change your clothes after coming in from outside during hay fever season, as the fabric will have undoubtedly picked up bits of pollen while you were out. It’s also a good idea to keep your shoes stored away, and as close to the door as possible, to prevent pollen from being spread throughout the house.

Wash regularly

As well as on clothing, pollen can quite easily gather on your skin while you’re out of the house. Regular washing, especially of your hands and face (including the areas around your eyes) can help clear away any pollen before it can cause irritation.

Daily over monthly contact lenses

If you’re a monthly or two-weekly contact lens wearer during hay fever season, it might be worth speaking with your optician to see if you can switch to daily contact lenses. By replacing the lenses daily, you’ll guarantee that you’ll be applying pollen-free lenses.

However, if you would rather stick with your monthlies or two weeklies, just take extra care to thoroughly clean and store them overnight in contact lens solution to get rid of any tiny bits of pollen that may have accumulated.

Wear wrap-around sunglasses

Not just for UV protection, wrap-around sunglasses offer your eyes and the areas around your eyes protection from pollen in the air that could cause irritation.

While other styles of sunglasses also offer protection, wrap-around styles have proven particularly effective during hay fever season due to their full coverage.

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How to get rid of hay fever

At any chemist or optician in the UK, you’ll be able to find over-the-counter (OTC) eye drops, specially designed to combat the symptoms of hay fever.

These eye drops contain an antihistamine, which works to relieve symptoms and bring down the allergy.

Other OTC medicines you can find at your local chemists include antihistamine nasal sprays and antihistamine tablets.

If you find that your symptoms don’t improve after you’ve used one of these medications, you should visit your GP to discuss your condition.