Does Hay Fever Affect Laser Eye Surgery?

Here London Vision Clinic, we are looking forward to the summer (and distinctly unimpressed by the recent rain!) However, we’re all too aware that, alongside the barbecues, beach trips, and sunny afternoons in pub gardens, summer time brings something altogether less pleasant: the dreaded hay fever!

What Is Hay Fever?

Hay fever – a form of allergic rhinitis –  is an allergic reaction that occurs when pollen from grasses and plants is inhaled into the nose or gets into the eyes. Depending on where you live and which pollen spores are to blame, it primarily affects two areas – the eyes and nose. The most common symptoms are irritated eyes and an itchy, runny or blocked nose.

Hay Fever In The UK

There are an estimated 16 million hay fever sufferers in the UK – who have been warned to brace themselves in recent years, due to Britain’s chaotic weather. Pollen bearing weeds and grasses flourish when the summer follows significant rainfall (another reason we’re hoping for some more seasonal weather soon!). Rainfall can increase the amount of pollen and grass – and therefore the prevalence of hay fever – and can even extend the hay fever season beyond the usual summer months.

Prevention And Treatment

“The problem with allergies is that most of us ignore them at the mild irritation stage – it’s only when it is really bad that we do something about it”, explains London Vision Clinic surgeon, Glenn Carp.

Although all sufferers should know that “prevention is better than cure”, many people wait until they are really uncomfortable with hay fever, before taking action. Perhaps this is because we are eternal optimists, believing (or hoping) that it won’t happen this year, or that we will have “out grown” the condition. Unfortunately, hay fever is cyclical and has a nasty habit of catching us unaware – sometimes even taking off several years between bouts.

London Vision Clinic’s Top Tips To Avoid Hay Fever This Summer

  • Firstly, do not rub your eyes. This will only inflame the irritation and result in further discomfort.
  • Try to avoid pollen as much as possible, either by closing windows or keeping surfaces clear with damp dusters (in order to help hay fever sufferers, the MET Office provides a daily pollen count ).
  • Try to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen and dust.
  • Avoid wearing contact lenses when handling pollen, cleaning or gardening. These activities may result in particles getting stuck behind the lens, and causing increased irritation.
  • Speak to your local pharmacist, and purchase an over-the-counter medication which is effective for hay fever.
  • Seek professional advice from your optometrist or GP if your symptoms become severe.

What Happens If You Have Hay Fever Before Your Laser Eye Surgery?

“Of course, we don’t want to treat anyone who is uncomfortable, with inflamed eyes”, explains Mr Carp, “We would always treat the symptoms first.”

Then, during and after Laser Eye Surgery, steroid and antibiotic eye drops are part of the routine for every patient. These combat any risk of infection, and are effective for at least a week after surgery, which means that patients are also getting two weeks of great protection for their eyes from hay fever. In addition, the lubricating eye drops (which are used to prevent post-surgery dry eye) help to flush out any allergens from the surface of the eye, which again can reduce allergy stimulation.

“People who have had Laser Eye Surgery tend to be much more aware of the state of their eyes in general. Following surgery, most patients with this problem find that, although they might have a little bit of an allergy, they are not as sensitive as usual and, if this isn’t the case, anti-allergy eye drops are recommended”, adds Mr Carp.

If you are considering Laser Eye Surgery in the build up to the summer, or have any questions for our expert team, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 020 7224 1005, or via our easy contact form.