A short guide to hay fever

Look after your eyes and reduce the impact of hay fever
Hay fever can cause considerable discomfort for your eyes. If you suffer from hay fever, your optometrist can advise on how to reduce your symptoms and make things a little more bearable during the spring and summer.

The most common group of eye drops used to help relieve the effects of hay fever are called ‘mast cell stabilisers’. These are very effective and safe for those with hay fever symptoms that affect the eyes. However, it can take five to 14 days of use before they are most effective, so it’s important to start using these drops before your allergy kicks in.

The pollen season includes three main phases. Knowing which pollen triggers your allergy can help you to take measures to reduce symptoms. You can then take drops ahead of the period.

Pollen type Main release period Peak
Tree Hazel (Corylus) January – mid April

mid February – mid March

 

Yew (Taxus) January – mid April

end February – end March

 

Alder (Alnus) January – April

mid February – beginning of April

 

Elm (Ulmus) February – April

March – beginning of April

 

Willow (Salix) February -beginning of May

beginning of March – mid April

 

Poplar (Populus) mid March – beginning of May

end March – beginning of April

 

Birch (Betula) March – mid June

end March – mid May

 

Ash (Fraxinus) March – end May

April – beginning of May

 

Plane (Plantanus) March – May

mid March – mid April

 

Oak (Quercus) end March – mid June

end April – beginning of June

 

Pine (Pinus) beginning of April – end July

beginning of May – end June

 

Lime (Tilia) June – beginning of August

mid June – mid July

 

Grass Grass (Poaceae) May – mid September

June – July

 

Weed Dock (Rumex) end May – beginning of August

end June – end July

 

Mugwort (Artemisia) end June – mid September

end July – mid August

 

Nettle (Urtica) May – end September

end June – beginning of August

 

Oilseed rape (Brassica Napus) end March – end July

beginning of May – June

 

Plantain (Plantago) April – August June – mid July

 

Once you have identified the time period in which you need to take your drops, it’s important to remember:

  • Use the drops correctly and follow the instructions that come with the drops.
  • Ensure that you buy your drops from a reputable source, if you are buying your drops online make sure you recognise the retailer.
  • If you are taking drops correctly and still having a problem, make an appointment with your optometrist.
  • You should also review the pollen forecast daily as the dates outlined above can vary.
  • Eye drops will specifically target the symptoms of hay fever associated with the eyes. Tablets and nasal sprays can be taken to alleviate other symptoms, such as sneezing or a runny nose.
  • If you wear contact lenses make sure you tell your optometrist you get hay fever and ask them what you should do during hay fever season.