My mother always relayed this one to me - put sunglasses on and your eyes wont itch so much. I always laughed at this as being an old wives tale, however there seems to be plenty of anecdotal advice given out online substantiating the claim - albeit most sources suggesting wraparound sunglasses.

This, I suppose, makes more sense than any old sunglasses; at least wraparounds have less gaps for small pollen particles to enter your eyes. However, I am stil l skeptical that this has any benefit whatsoever as it was my belief that the itchy, watery eyes were just another histamine overreaction by the body in response to pollen entering through other channels (nasal, oral).

Has there been any proper studies of this?

Notable claims:

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    Not an answer, but... The first thing that came to mind was the photic sneeze reflex. This can be treated with sunglasses or with antihistamines, so has some similarities with what you are describing. – Oddthinking Jul 11 '12 at 14:55
  • I don't believe there are any studies, but Allergy UK (and too many others to mention) also recommend sunglasses. You are right that the main reason for itchy eyes is " just another histamine overreaction by the body in response to pollen entering through other channels." It is the nasal channel which is important as the reaction occurs when the pollen hits the upper nasal tract. Pollen entering through the mouth does not have any effect. It is possible that pollen hitting the eyeballs has a secondary effect, but I am not aware of any studies on this either. Anyone else know of any? When the e – user7817 Jul 11 '12 at 19:05
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    Looking around, I found lots of respectable (and peer reviewed) papers recommending wrap-around sunglasses, but none that linked to empirical data. Ignore my previous conjecture about the photic sneeze reflex - my new conjecture is that the mechanism is reducing the air-flow around the eyes when in the wind, thus reducing exposure. – Oddthinking Apr 10 '13 at 0:32
  • As a personal anecdote speaking as an asthmatic who has to bike down a one-mile long street lined with pollen heavy trees every day, wearing sunglasses during pollen season invariably means I don't spend half an hour trying to rub/wash my eyes clear afterwards. – Shadur Aug 12 '14 at 11:54

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