Sunglasses For Your Allergies

Dr. Landon Bunderson

PHD, Pollination Ecology

Pollen, dust, and other particles can wreak havoc on those who are sensitive to allergens, especially now that spring has sprung. One of the most annoying allergy symptoms is dry, irritated, or itchy eyes. Many people treat their allergy symptoms by avoiding the outdoors altogether, wearing a mask, or taking medications. But, a lesser known way to protect yourself and your eyes in particular is by using protective goggles called “allergy goggles” or sunglasses.  

How Can Eyewear Protect Me?

In one study, researchers found that allergy-sufferers who wore shades during the day required significantly less antihistamine than those who didn’t, and reported fewer eye-related symptoms.

Why? Sunglasses block the pollen from reaching your eyes. They also block UV rays, which  can stimulate allergy symptoms, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone. The amazing thing is, that if you block allergens from your eyes, you could be helping your nose too. That’s because your eyes and nose are connected in a ‘reflex arc’.  

What Type of Eyewear Should I Get?

It should be noted that large, wrap-around sunglasses or goggles work best, because they are the ones that will block the most pollen. They do this by decreasing the amount of air that circulates around your eye.

You can still wear your regular sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen, though they won’t help as much. Still, UV-blocking shades can help to control symptoms by blocking light, which exacerbates allergy symptoms in the eyes.

Next time you go shopping for sunglasses, think about getting a pair that protects you from allergies!