Order Contact Lenses:

We accept VISA We accept MasterCard We accept Delta We accept Solo We accept American Express We accept VISA Electron We accept PayPal

Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis (Hay Fever)

How does Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis affect your Eyes and Contact Lenses?

More people are affected by seasonal allergies than all other types of ocular allergies.

The most common type of ocular allergies are seasonal and perennial (year round) allergic conjunctivitis.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, commonly referred to as hay fever, is caused by air-born pollen particles released by plants during specific times of the year. It generally occurs in the spring months (grass pollen induced), and in the late summer months (ragweed pollen induced).

Ragweed Hay Fever


Itching is a dominant symptom in seasonal allergic conjunctivitis diagnosis, as well as watery/mucus discharge, burning, eye redness, runny nose, and/or sore throat.

Perennial allergic conjunctivitis is a year-round allergic condition. This allergic response is often related to animal dander, dust (including carpet dust), or other allergens that are present in the environment year round. Symptoms are similar to seasonal allergic conjunctivitis: however, they tend to be milder.

These types of allergies can sometimes cause considerable discomfort. People with asthma may have their condition triggered by seasonal allergies, as well.

If you're suffering from hay fever, talk with your eye care practitioner on how to reduce your symptoms, and increase your comfort level.

Why do I Have Hay fever?

The human body reacts to pollen as though it were a dangerous threat to our biological systems, even if there isn't any actual danger. The immune system releases chemicals that are designed to fight off invading bodies, such as bacteria, viruses, fungal spores, and even pollen. These chemicals are designed to pump increased levels of blood to specific areas of the body, such as the eyes, nose, and throat, where most invaders enter the body. In an effort to flush them out, tear and mucus production increases and a sneeze reflex is triggered.

Common Allergens

Many people assume that they are allergic to weeds or the pollen from weeds. As seen above, the grasses are the most likely culprit. However, weed pollen does indeed case hey fever. Dock, Mugwort, Nettle, Oilseed and Platain weeds create the most dry eyes in the UK.

Mugwort is a very persistent and hardy perennial plant, it is native to Europe and Asia, and is a member of the asteraceae family, which includes daisies, sunflowers, dandelions, and ragweed. Growing up to 1.8 meters in height, and appearing reddish-brown in color, mugwort is usually found near streams, on rocky soil, and in rough terrain. Its pollen is very allergenic, and the most common cause of hay fever. The pollen can travel up to 2,000 while meters floating in the air.There are about 30 types of grass, trees, and weeds which create pollen that cause hay fever.

Grass Pollen


According to NHS, in the UK, 9 out of 10 people are allergic to at least one type of grass pollen. The 2 most common offenders are:

  • Perennial Rye – Also known as English Ryegrass, this grass is found throughout Britain. This grass was once exclusively cultivated for agricultural purposes and is now found growing wild along roadways, most likely due to seed being spread during transportation. Perennial Rye is a harsh, coarse grass with green stems and thin, blade-like leaves.
  • Timothy Grass – Also called cat's tail grass, it is an abundant perennial grass native to Europe, although it is rare in areas near the Mediterranean. It has wide, flat leaves and grows to more than a meter in height. The easily recognizable flower head is up to 140 centimeters long and purple or brown in colour.

Tree Pollen

About 20% - 25% people are allergic to one or more types of tree pollen. If your hay fever kicks in during March or April, you could be allergic to tree pollen.

You are most likely to be allergic to the pollen of these trees: Oak, Ash, Cedar, Birch, Hazel, Alder, and Horse Chestnut.

Other trees which produce pollen that you may be allergic to include Elm, Yew, Willow, Poplar, Plane, Pine and Lime trees.

Weed Pollen

Many people assume that they are allergic to weeds or the pollen from weeds. As seen above, the grasses are the most likely culprit. However, weed pollen does indeed case hey fever. Dock, Mugwort, Nettle, Oilseed and Platain weeds create the most dry eyes in the UK.

Mugwort is a very persistent and hardy perennial plant, it is native to Europe and Asia, and is a member of the asteraceae family, which includes daisies, sunflowers, dandelions, and ragweed. Growing up to 1.8 meters in height, and appearing reddish-brown in color, mugwort is usually found near streams, on rocky soil, and in rough terrain. Its pollen is very allergenic, and the most common cause of hay fever. The pollen can travel up to 2,000 while meters floating in the air.

​Knowing When You're Likely To Have An Allergic Reaction


Seasonal allergies are referred to as such because they are triggered in different seasons. The time of year, time of day, and weather conditions play a role in how much pollen is in the air.

Weather and time of day:
The amount of pollen drops on rainy days. On sunny days, pollen count is highest in the evening. Pollen is spread greater distances on windy days. On warmer days, flowers open and more pollen spreads. Humidity plays a role as well, and on humid days there is more pollen in the air.

Many local weather stations also provide current pollen forecasts based on current weather conditions.

Pollen seasons:
Allergy season can be broken down into three basic periods: spring, summer, and fall.

Below is a list of the plants which fall into those phases, the time of year they are most likely to bloom, and the time of their peak pollen production.

  • Grass: Pollen season for grass typically begins in early May and ends in the middle of September. The peak, however, is all of June and July.
  • Trees: Tree pollen season varies greatly from tree to tree. Many people experience their first hay fever symptoms when Birch trees peak in late March.
  • Weeds. Weed pollen season is throughout the year depending on the weed, but the biggest culprit is mugwort which peaks in late July and runs through the middle of August.

What Treatment Options are Available?


Unfortunately, there is no known cure for seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, unless you can find a way to completely avoid coming into contact with the allergens.

Relief from seasonal allergic conjunctivitis comes in many ways. Allergy shots, a desensitization process, can be helpful for some people in reducing symptoms and the need for other medications.

There are also various topical and oral medications readily available at local pharmacies and pharmacies and drugstores. For particularly serious cases, a variety of prescription medications are available.

Do Oral Antihistamines Provide Effective Relief?

Most medications fall into the antihistamine category, either topical or oral. Both work to block the release of histamine, which causes many of the symptoms.

Orally ingested antihistamines may partially relieve ocular symptoms. They can be a convenient way to obtain relief although it can often take an hour or more before they begin to work. Some oral antihistamines can produce unwanted side-effects such as drowsiness, irritability and dryness. They work best if taken before exposure to the allergen, but pollen release is dependent upon many seasonal and daily climatic factors that can't be accurately predicted.

Topical antihistamines, in the form of eye drops, may prove the most effective way to get relief from Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis. Unlike oral medications, eye drops allow the medication to get directly to the affected eyes. Many contain both an antihistamine and a decongestant. Applied when necessary, these drops can alleviate within minutes most of the annoying symptoms such as itching, redness, tearing and swelling.

New and highly potent prescription topical antihistamines are also available from your doctor that work on contact and provide hours of relief with virtually no side-effects.

Other Steps You Can Take for Relief:

Using medication in order to treat your symptoms of hay fever is only one approach.

There are steps you can take to limit your exposure in the first place, leaving you less vulnerable to the pollen in the air.

  • Use Air Conditioning: Keep windows in your home and car closed during the pollen season: use air conditioning instead. If you suffer badly, some cars have filters fitted that remove the pollen from incoming air. Make sure air conditioning filters are kept clean and changed regularly.
  • Avoid outdoor activities such as mowing the lawn or gardening, especially in the morning and early afternoon when pollen release is at its height.
  • Wash your hands, face and hair often to rid them of pollen that may accumulate.
  • Don't rub your eyes. Rubbing stimulates the release of histamines which can make you eyes even itchier.
  • Use cold compresses on your eyes and nose, to alleviate the itching.
  • If you wear soft contact lenses, don't wear them if you're using eye drops. There are steps you can take to make lens wear more comfortable during allergy season. For example, don't wear your lenses during the time of the day when the pollen count is at it's highest.

One of the most effective things you can do however, is to check with your doctor, allergist or eye care professional first. He or she can properly diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment for you.

Also see - Allergic Conjunctivitis

​Pollens which cause Hay fever and their peak seasons


  • Grass Phase
    • All Grasses, including perennial rye, timothy grass, and sheep sorrel.
      • Begins – Early May
      • Ends – Middle of September
      • Peak – All of June and July
  • Tree Phase
    • Hazel
      • Begins – Early January
      • Ends – Middle of April
      • Peak – Middle of February through Middle of March
    • Yew
      • Begins - Early January
      • Ends – Middle of April
      • Peak – Late February through Late March
    • Alder
      • Begins - Early January
      • Ends – Late April
      • Peak – Middle of February through Late April
    • Elm
      • Begins – Early February
      • Ends – Late April
      • Peak – Early March through Late April
    • Willow
      • Begins – Early February
      • Ends – Early May
      • Peak – Early March through middle of April
    • Birch
      • Begins – Early March
      • Ends – Middle of June
      • Peak – Late March through middle of May
    • Ash
      • Begins – Early March
      • Ends – Late May
      • Peak – All of April
    • Plane
      • Begins – Early March
      • Ends – Late May
      • Peak – Middle of April through middle of May
    • Poplar
      • Begins – Middle of March
      • Ends – Early May
      • Peak – Late March through early April
    • Oak
      • Begins – Late March
      • Ends – Middle of June
      • Peak – Late April through early June
    • Pine
      • Begins – Early April
      • Ends – Late July
      • Peak – Early May through late June
    • Lime
      • Begins – Early June
      • Ends – Early August
      • Peak – Middle of June through middle of July
  • Weed Phase
    • Oilseed Rape
      • Begins – Late March
      • Ends – Late July
      • Peak – All of May and June
    • Plantain
      • Begins – Early April
      • Ends – Late August
      • Peak – Early June through middle of July
    • Nettle
      • Begins – Early May
      • Ends – Late September
      • Peak – Late June through early August
    • Dock
      • Begins – Late May
      • Ends – Early August
      • Peak – Late June through late July
    • Mugwort
      • Begins – Late June
      • Ends – Middle of September
      • Peak – Late July through middle of August

Find us on:
facebook twitter youtube Google Plus WordPress

Earn Comission when recommend to friends
Secure Payment
Independent Reviews
Independent Reviews
Read how we supported Guide Dogs