The Spectator

Managing Your Hay Fever

Managing Your Hay Fever hero image

Do you suffer with hay fever? Almost 18 million people in the UK are affected by hay fever every year throughout the warmer months, so you are not alone.

Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen particles in the air, which can cause symptoms such as itchy and watery eyes, breathing difficulties and sneezing.

From March through to September, pollen is present, with different types being more prevalent in certain months. The most common cause of hay fever is grass pollen, present from May until August with its peak season between June and July.


Hay fever can be extremely uncomfortable, especially for your eyes as they can become itchy, irritated, watery and red. Your eyes will become itchy due to pollen landing on or near your eye, when your eyes become itchy they turn red as an inflammatory response to fight off the irritant that has entered your eye, and may water due to excess tears being produced to remove the irritant from your eye.

Managing Hay Fever

There are several steps you can take to help reduce your hay fever symptoms.

  • The pollen count is at its highest early morning and late evening so avoid going out at these times or stay indoors with the windows and doors closed.
  • When you wear contact lenses, allergens can build up on the lenses. Wearing glasses instead of contact lenses will provide a barrier between the pollen and your eyes.
  • After spending time outside, it is advised to bathe your eyes, shower, and change your clothes to help wash away any pollen that may be on your clothes or skin.

Treating Hay Fever

 There two most common treatments for hay fever are using anti-allergy eye drops and taking antihistamines. The eye drops help to as a protective defence for your eyes and can reduce irritation of the eyes. Taking antihistamines before encountering pollen can help prevent a reaction or reduce the severity of the symptoms.

If you are a contact lens wearer, please check that the eye drops are suitable for use with contact lenses. Please contact your local Eye Place for more advice on managing hay fever, contact lenses and suitable eye drops.