It finally feels like spring here in Central Massachusetts . . . at least for a day. For the past week, all the flowering trees and shrubs in our neighborhood have bloomed, the maples are flowering, and the weeping cherries and Callery pears are already shedding petals, like so many pink and white snowflakes.
I always love the pastel colors of spring in the Northeast, but inevitably, all the pollen can do a number on my head. It used to be that I’d sneeze a lot and my eyes would water in response to the blossoming. This year, however, my spring allergies took a stealth turn.
Last May, as I’ve described here, I discovered scleral contact lenses to heal my very dry eyes, which were becoming more of an issue due to damage to my corneas from Sjogren’s. The lenses have helped a lot, although they’ve been harder to wear during the winter, when our house gets drier. But in recent weeks, I suddenly found that I could barely keep them in for a few hours, which evolved to only a few minutes last week.
As soon as I’d insert them, they would cloud over. Very frustrating. I wondered if my eyes were somehow rejecting them. Fortunately I was able to get an appointment last Thursday with the good folks at our local optometry college’s dry eye clinic. The students did their usual thorough intake. But when the supervising optometrist came into the exam room, the first thing he asked me was whether I had allergies.
Sure enough, that explained it. The build-up of histamines in my eyes combined with the fact that I can’t produce enough tears to dilute the resulting mucus caused a film to form on my scleral lenses. The answer so far is to try antihistamine eye-drops for about 10 days, and then try the lenses again. I’m glad to report that as soon as I started using the eye-drops, my eyes felt better and are no longer gucking up like they were before.
Hoping that I continue to make progress and can wear my lenses again. I’ll have to build up tolerance once more, but that’s certainly a manageable process. Meanwhile, the pollen mix is shifting. Maybe by the time I put in my lenses, the leaves will be fully unfurled.