Is It Dry Eye or Fall Allergies?

November 5, 2021

Differentiating between allergies and dry eye in the fall can be a challenging task. If you are a doctor, you may have patients complaining of symptoms that are similar to the two. Trying to find specific symptoms through questioning may be challenging. This is especially so if the patient does not recollect when or where the symptoms show up.


In other circumstances, you may have both conditions at the same time. So how do you know if it is dry eye or allergies, or even both?




Allergies



One of the reasons you can have dry eyes is allergies. When your dry eyes are due to allergies, you will experience:
 

  • Itchiness of the eye.
     

  • Redness inside and around the eye.
     

  • A burning sensation.
     

  • Feel like something is stuck in your eye.
     

  • Watery discharge from the eyes.


However, the symptoms will vary depending on what is causing the allergy. The main common symptom is itchiness. Some people will also experience a sore throat and runny nose.




Dry Eye



Dry eye syndrome is a condition where your eyes do not produce enough tears. It may also be due to your eyes not producing healthy tears. Healthy tears should be able to lubricate your eyes adequately. The most common symptoms of dry eyes are:
 

  • Redness of the eye.
     

  • Burning sensation.
     

  • Feel like something is stuck in your eye.
     

  • Watery discharge.
     

  • Blurry vision.
     

  • Sensitivity to light.

 




Treatment



This should focus on the root cause of your dry eyes. If it is due to allergies, you need to deal with the cause of the allergy. If it is a condition, you need to get a treatment that helps improve the quality of your tears.




Treatment for Allergies



If you have allergies, the first course of treatment is usually taking antihistamines. You may have to stop taking them and try other strategies. This is because antihistamines may worsen dry eyes. Try closing the windows in your car and house when the pollen count is high. To help reduce the pollen count, use air conditioning instead.


Use a dehumidifier to control the mold in the house. If you have to go outside, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from pollen. Also, wash your hands when coming from outside or petting your dog.




Treatment for Dry Eye Syndrome



In severe conditions, surgery may be an option. But before choosing surgery, ensure that you try all other treatments. Treatment for dry eye syndrome includes using eye drops and artificial tears.


You can also use special contact lenses that help trap a tear film on the surface of the eye. This tear film helps hydrate your eyes and alleviate the condition. If you use contacts and they are not helping, switch to glasses.


Other things you can try are blinking often and changing your diet. You can take flax oil and eat fish that is rich in omega-3. They will help your eyes stay moist.




For more on dry eye and allergies, visit Eye Associates of New York at our office in New York, New York. You can call (212) 650-4888 today to schedule an appointment.

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