What can I do about my sensitive eyes?
There are many reasons why our eyes can become 'sensitive', leading to various unpleasant or even painful symptoms. Typically, eye sensitivity does not indicate an underlying problem with vision but it is always best to check with your optometrist if the problem persists or becomes worse.
Allergies and dry eye
If your eyes have become red, itchy, watery and sore, this may be a sign of an allergic reaction to something in your environment or another external factor. It is caused by a overreaction of the immune system, which leads to the aforementioned symptoms. It can also cause swollen eyelids and a sensitivity to light. Allergies can be developed in relation to pollen, pet dander, dust, some types of makeup, perfume and other chemicals or even contact lenses.
Typically, this can be treated by using antihistamine pills and eye drops. Applying a cold compress and refraining from touching your eyes will also help alleviate the symptoms. If you have a recurring problem with your eyes becoming sensitive, red, sore, gritty and hot, it is best to see your optometrist for an eye test. They can pick up anything abnormal that may be causing this reaction. This pattern of symptoms could also be indicative of extreme dry eye, which is caused by insufficient lubrication on the surface of the eye. This can occur when tear production and/or oil output is inadequate.
Pinguecula and sensitivity to wind
Sometimes your eyes may develop a sensitivity to wind, which can occur when people frequently work outdoors. In this case, wearing protective glasses may help, or you could try a lubricating eye drop to ensure your eyes aren't overly dry (which can increase sensitivity). A pinguecula is a cream-coloured chalky growth that develops on the conjunctiva, the protective membrane that extends over the surface of the eye. It's normally not associated with sensitivity, but see your optometrist if it changes or your vision becomes affected.
Some people develop an abnormal sensitivity to light, called photosensitivity. People who have photosensitive epilepsy can experience seizures that are triggered by flashing lights or visually distinctive patterns with contrasting elements, such as stripes or checks. An orange tint or another colour may help to alleviate the symptoms and manage the condition more effectively on a day-to-day basis.
Your optometrist can advise you further on this issue and arrange for lenses with the tint to be produced for you.