Oh Spring, that joyous time of year heralding the end of the cold season! The lambs are frolicking, the flowers are blooming and yes, the eyes may be itching.

Hayfever, sinusitis, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis … the list of possible allergy complaints goes on.

Ocular allergy, or allergic conjunctivitis, is an extremely common problem with some studies reporting that up to 40 per cent of people experience it. Our wonderful Region of Bundaberg and surrounds is rich in agriculture and rural industry. We are topographically flat (except for the Hummock!) and enjoy a mostly warm and temperate climate.

Unfortunately lots of allergen-producing plants can thrive in this environment and with winds blowing across the flat land, a significant proportion of locals may be affected by allergy symptoms.

What can you do? If you think you’re suffering from eye allergies you can start by seeing your optometrist. We can assess the front of your eyes to determine what treatment may be required to fix your itch. Typical symptoms are scratchy, red and watery eyes with sometimes the feeling of a foreign body in them.

An optometrist may advise a course of eye drops to treat an eye allergy. Depending on the severity of signs and symptoms, drops may include either lubricants, antihistamines, mast-cell stablisers or steroids.

Some at-home tips that may help reduce your itch include avoiding known allergy-triggers, staying indoors (but that could get boring), wearing sunglasses (yes it really can help), and placing cold packs over your eyes when the itching is bad.

As always, if you have any concerns about your eye health or eyesight please consult your optometrist.


Andrew Christiansen is the owner and optometrist at Optical Superstore Bundaberg.