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Forget hayfever, city fever is set to hit Britons right between the eyes this summer.

The seasonal sneezing, itchy red eyes and other misery experienced by the country’s 12.3 million hayfever sufferers is commonly thought to be associated only with countryside pollen. However, it seems city pollution is now also responsible for the rising number of people suffering from hayfever , with incidence rates in cities double those in rural areas .

According to research from Optrex, 16.1 million of us will be suffering from itchy and/ or allergy-prone eyes come the annual hay – and city – fever season. Women and those in the 25-44 year old age bracket are especially at risk, accounting for 54 per cent of incidences.

Road traffic is largely to blame for ‘City Fever’. Exhaust fumes create a fog which traps pollens and other allergens in the atmosphere at ground level, exacerbating hayfever problems.

According to Optrex, urban dwellers are suffering from an ever increasing number of eye complaints with 19.6 million of us suffering from eye conditions linked to modern lifestyles. Common causes are stress factors including increased time in front of computer screens, dry atmospheres and air conditioning and just longer working hours resulting in tired, dry, sore and itchy and irritated eyes.

Whilst nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of us understand that hayfever is responsible for our itchy, irritated eyes the Optrex research reveals a massive 68 per cent of us don’t do anything to relieve the symptoms, despite their annoyance and impact on everyday life.

Optrex Itchy Eye Drops work instantly to help relieve irritation caused by pollen and urban pollution. The drops can be used at the same time as oral anti-histamine medication specifically to act on eye discomfort. Priced £3.91 for 10ml,Optrex Itchy Eye Drops are available from high street chemists and most major supermarkets.


For further information, please contact Stacey Dawson, email or Lucy Jones, email on tel 01444 484888.

Notes to Editors:

• Optrex is the market leader, with a 47% share of a growing category. With a 75 year heritage and now owned by Reckitt Benckiser, Optrex is the most trusted brand by consumers (TNS, U&A 2005).

Optrex Tips for hayfever and City Fever sufferers

• Bathing the eyes with a cold flannel can help ease the symptoms
• Try and avoid the cause of the allergy as much as possible eg wear wrap around sunglasses during the hayfever season
• If you wear contact lenses generally it is better to avoid wearing the lenses again until symptoms have gone.
• For more advice visit

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