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A short guide to hay fever infographic

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.