Do I Have Dry Eye or Seasonal Allergies?

Do I Have Dry Eye or Seasonal Allergies?

Do I Have Dry Eye or Seasonal Allergies?

Do I Have Dry Eye or Seasonal Allergies?

Dry eye and seasonal allergies are common eye conditions that affect millions of people every day. The two have some similar symptoms, but they are different. Many patients confuse the two conditions, making it difficult to find effective long-term relief. 

In some cases, medications that treat allergies can cause dry eyes. Some patients have both conditions. Allergens or eye irritants can cause dry eye. 


Dry Eye or Allergies


Dry eye and allergies may have similar symptoms, but they have different underlying causes. When eyes are healthy, tears keep the front eye surface (cornea) clear and lubricated. The tear film has three layers: water, oil, and mucus. 

Dry eye occurs when the tears produced are unstable or inadequate. Seasonal allergies occur when an individual is exposed to allergens that trigger an immune response. A chemical known as histamine is released in response, causing swelling and inflammation. 


Dry Eye Causes 


Dry eye syndrome may be due to several reasons, including:


  • Meibomian gland dysfunction or blocked oil glands

  • Reduced tear production due to age or gender (hormones)

  • Environmental factors such as smoke, low humidity, chemicals, or allergens

  • Certain medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants

  • Failing to blink frequently

  • Underlying medical conditions

  • Contact lens use

  • Prolonged computer use


Causes of Allergies 


Various irritants trigger allergies. They include:


  • Pollen from grasses, weeds, or trees

  • Pet dander

  • Mold

  • Smoke

  • Dust mites


Some people experience allergic reactions to things such as perfume, skin care products, and medications. 


Dry Eye and Seasonal Allergies Symptoms


The main difference in symptoms of dry eye and allergies is severe itching. While some itching may be present with dry eye, it is more intense in allergies. It is a sign of allergies if you experience eye itching alongside watery eyes and a runny nose. 

Allergies cause eye redness, watery eyes, puffy or swollen eyelids, blurry vision, and light sensitivity. Dry eye syndrome has symptoms that include stinging, burning sensation, the sensation of something in the eye, and sensitivity to light. Other symptoms are watery eyes, blurry vision, and stringy mucus discharge. 


Do You Have Dry Eye or Allergies?

The best way to know whether you have dry eye or allergies is by getting a professional eye exam. The eye doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history to determine if underlying diseases are causing the condition. The doctor will determine when or how frequently you experience symptoms. 


Effective Treatment 


There are ways to treat both allergies and dry eye. A proper diagnosis will help determine the most effective treatment plan. Antihistamines usually treat eye allergies, but they can cause dry eye. The doctor may prescribe preservative-free artificial tears to keep the eyes lubricated and prevent them from drying. 


Avoiding allergens and making simple lifestyle changes can help find out the eye issue you have. Cleaning your house regularly and keeping windows closed to eliminate allergens can provide some relief. It is always advisable to try natural remedies before turning to medications. 


For more information on dry eye versus seasonal allergies or to start finding relief for either, contact Westchester Eyes & Aesthetics at our Yonkers, New York office. Call 914-586-EYES (3937) to schedule an appointment today.

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