Ask the Optician

Contact lenses and hayfever


My boyfriend wears contact lenses and has very bad hayfever. He takes tablets daily and uses nose sprays, but his eyes still burn unbearably, like he has rubbed chilli into them. He has several types of drops which ease the symptoms for a few seconds, but don't really provide any longer term relief. There don't seem to be any specific hay fever eye drops that you can use with contact lenses? Why is this? It makes no difference if he leaves the contacts out, his eyes are still sore, so its not the lenses irritating. But having lenses is preventing him from using hayfever drops. Are there any different lenses he can try or drops available? Any advice would be very helpful.

Answer Written answer:
Qualified optometrist Simon Kay BSc(Hons) MCOptom answers this question.

Sorry, I have no good news. Hayfever is a real problem with contact lenses. If your eyes are affected badly you just have to leave them out. Having been a sufferer all my life and seen hundreds of patients with hayfever related eye problems, I have to say that no treatment is very effective. I have personally found eye drops called Alomide the most effective, but you cannot use them with contact lenses. After instillation in the morning, if you wait about 30 minutes you can then insert your lenses. There are no allergy eye drops that I know of that you can use whilst wearing lenses.

Optician's Biography

Simon Kay BSc(Hons) MCOptom has been a qualified Optometrist for over 30 years, and has a vast experience of almost all aspects of optometry. He joined Specsavers Opticians in 1993 first in Liverpool and for 15 years as a director of Lancaster and Morecambe. He served on many panels and committees whilst a director, including those responsible for IT design and professional advancement. He was regional chairman of the North West directors of Specsavers for over 12 years and as such was involved in almost all aspects of optometry on a business and professional level. He has been involved on the Local Optical Committee for many years and is currently Vice Chairman in his area.
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