May 23, 2012 08:00 ET

Eye Allergies Disrupt Daily Activities, Impact Performance and Appearance, Survey Shows

Leading Expert Offers Advice for Allergy Sufferers

TORONTO--(Marketwire - May 23, 2012) - Spring can be a difficult time for the 20-25 percent of Canadians who suffer from hay fever1, including those affected by seasonal eye allergies For many vision corrected individuals, eye allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery, or red eyes often keep them from enjoying daily activities, affect their appearance, and impact their performance at work, at school, and during sports, according to a U.S. survey conducted by Harris Interactive© on behalf of VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.

This is an issue that reaches beyond the U.S., as a recent study suggests that as many as 10 million Canadians may also suffer allergy symptoms, and that more women than men admit to symptoms.2 "Women, in particular, may find that frequent rubbing of their eyes during allergy season causes their makeup to come off. This, along with the redness and puffiness that is common marker of eye allergies, can lead to self-consciousness about their appearance," notes Vishakha Thakrar, O.D., F.A.A.O., Professional Affairs, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care a Division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc. Canada.

According to the U.S. online survey of 755 eye allergy sufferers ages 18 and over who wear glasses, contact lenses, or both, more than two in five (41 percent) say they suffer from mild to moderate eye allergy symptoms on a daily basis. One-in-three survey respondents say they wear contact lenses only or in conjunction with glasses, with 84 percent reporting that they wear reusable contacts that they replace either monthly or every one-to-two weeks. Among contact lens wearers surveyed, 39 percent say they wear their contacts less often, and about one-in-five say they either remove their contacts during the day (22 percent) or don't wear them at all (19 percent) due to eye allergy symptoms.

Noted educator and author Paul Karpecki, O.D., F.A.A.O., Clinical Director, Koffler Vision Group, Lexington, Kentucky, says he is not surprised that 74% of contact lens wearers with eye allergies say that their allergy symptoms make them feel "uncomfortable" when wearing their contacts. "Allergy season is particularly challenging for some contact lens wearers because allergens and other irritants can build up on contacts over time, leading to discomfort and symptoms such as itching, tearing and redness. Chemical disinfectants and preservatives used in some contact lens care systems also can affect the ocular surface of the eye when it is in an allergic state."

For allergy sufferers who want to wear or remain in contacts, Dr. Karpecki recommends daily disposable lenses that you throw away at the end of the day.

"The healthiest and most comfortable contact lens option for any eye allergy sufferer is a daily disposable lens, such as 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses," advises Dr. Karpecki. "Putting a clean, fresh lens into the eye each day minimizes the potential for the buildup of irritants that occur with repeated use of the same pair of lenses."

Dr. Karpecki also offers the following advice to allergy sufferers:

  • Find out what causes your allergy and try to avoid the trigger. "If pollen is what bothers you, try to stay indoors during the peak allergy season and minimize the amount of time you are in the wind, which blows allergens around."
  • Be cautious with allergy pills that claim to ease allergy symptoms. "Quite frequently, allergy medication can dry the eyes out. If you must take an allergy pill, try to take it at night so the drying effect is not as dramatic. Talk to your doctor about what medication(s) are best for you."
  • Use transient-preserved or preservative-free artificial tears. "People who suffer from eye allergy symptoms may also find that the preservatives in artificial tears also cause discomfort."
  • Consider allergy drops, which are prescribed by a doctor. "I tell my patients to put the drops in each eye in the morning before inserting contact lenses and then put a drop in at night after they remove their lenses."
  • Take more frequent showers to wash away allergens and at night, turn off ceiling fans, as allergens and dust are easily picked up by a fan.
  • Take a cool washcloth and place it over the eyes to ease swelling and discomfort. "Relax for a bit with the washcloth over the eyes to relieve symptoms."

For additional information, Dr. Karpecki talks about how to identify, treat, and manage eye symptoms from seasonal and indoor allergies on the new edition of Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones, a podcast series devoted to educating and improving eye health. The program is supported by ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses and is hosted by Val Jones, M.D., CEO of Better Health, LLC, a network of popular health bloggers, and author of, "Dr. Val and the Voice of Reason," which won The Best New Medical Blog award in 2007. Her new blog on eye health can be found at

Free podcasts of Healthy Vision with Dr. Val Jones can be found in the iTunes® Store (for best results, search for the show by its complete title. You will find it in LifeMinute.TV Health) and on BlogTalk Radio (

Clinical research has shown when worn on a daily disposable basis, 1-DAY ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses and other daily disposable etafilcon A contact lenses such as 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses and 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST® Brand Contact Lenses for ASTIGMATISM may provide improved comfort for many patients suffering from mild discomfort and/or itching associated with allergies during contact lens wear compared to lenses replaced at intervals of greater than 2 weeks.

Important information for contact lens wearers: ACUVUE® Brand Contact Lenses are available by prescription only for vision correction. An eye care professional will determine whether contact lenses are right for you. Although rare, serious eye problems can develop while wearing contact lenses. To help avoid these problems, follow the wear and replacement schedule and the lens care instructions provided by your eye doctor. Do not wear contact lenses if you have an eye infection, or experience eye discomfort, excessive tearing, vision changes, redness or other eye problems. If one of these conditions occurs, contact your eye doctor immediately. For more information on proper wear, care and safety, talk to your eye care professional and ask for a Patient Instruction Guide, call 1-800-843-2020 or visit

The Eye Allergy survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive© on behalf of VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc. among 755 vision-corrected adults age 18+ who have eye allergies between August 4 and August 20, 2010 (percentages for some questions are based on a subset, based on their responses to certain questions). The sample is weighted to represent the general population of adults age 18+ in the United States -- using the U.S. Census data for demographics and their propensity to be online.

1 The Canadian Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Foundation

2 CBC News Health, FAQSeasonal allergies: Something to sneeze at, (May 13, 2011).

ACUVUE®, 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST®, Healthy Vision™, and VISTAKON® are trademarks of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.

Dr. Paul Karpecki is a paid consultant for VISTAKON® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.
Dr. Vishakha Thakrar is a paid consultant for Johnson & Johnson Vision Care a Division of Johnson & Johnson, Inc. Canada

Contact Information

  • For further information, contact:
    Gary Esterow
    Johnson & Johnson Vision Care Inc.
    (904) 629-6232
    Email Contact

    Jennifer McEachern / Kerry Curran
    Rpr Marketing Communications
    (647) 345-2767 / (212) 317-1462
    Email Contact
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