Pollen grains can set off an allergic reaction as the conjunctiva (the transparent membrane covering the white of the eye) becomes inflamed.  This results in red, itchy eyes.  Sometimes the white of the eye swell up and can feel gritty. 

The College of Optometrists recommends these ways of managing your hay fever problems:

• If the pollen count is high, stay indoors as much as possible, especially in the early evening and mid-morning when the pollen count is at its highest.
• Keep doors and windows shut and wipe down surfaces with a damp duster.
• When outdoors wear sunglasses.  The wraparound types give the best protection.
• If you are a contact lens wearer consider temporarily switching to glasses, especially when the pollen count is high.
• If you have been outside for a while your clothes may have pollen on them, as may your skin and hair.  Take a shower and put on some fresh clothes.
• Bathe your eyes regularly in cold water.
• Applying petroleum jelly to your nostrils can trap pollen before it gets to your eyes.

For more information about hay fever and how you can protect your eyes visit the College of Optometrists website: https://lookafteryoureyes.org/eye-care/hay-fever/a-short-guide-to-hayfever/