Differentiating between dry eye and allergies can be challenging and frustrating, especially because both have similar symptoms like irritation that may result in eye redness. To further complicate things, allergies may irritate the eyes and cause dry eyes. It may also happen that you have a dry eye disease, and in come allergies to exacerbate symptoms and make it worse.
It is vital to know the difference between dry eye and allergies, especially if you have dry eye disease. It will help you take care of your eyes. You can avoid things that could cause allergies and get to know how to take care of yourself during different seasons.
Dry eye disease is a condition that causes your eyes to produce poor-quality tears. Poor-quality tears are deficient in one or more of the constituents of tears. These constituents are mucus, water, and oil.
The water may evaporate too rapidly due to a deficiency of oil. The tears may not spread evenly from having less mucus. These constituents are vital to the eyes as they allow clear vision and maintain corneal health. They wash away foreign matter and hydrate the eyes. The deficiency makes it difficult to keep the eye clear, clean, and healthy, causing dry eye symptoms to develop.
Allergies happen when a substance in your environment triggers a reaction in your body’s immune system. You may be hypersensitive to dust, pollen, or animal dander. The allergic reaction may cause your eyes to tear so that they can soothe themselves. You may mistake this for dry eyes due to the burning sensation, redness, and watery discharge.
Due to the eyes lacking lubrication, they may react and cause several symptoms. The most common of these symptoms are:
Redness of eyes
Sensitivity to light
Sometimes, tears will run down your eyes continuously, further irritating them. It may cause you to rub them, resulting in several symptoms like those from dry eye disease. These symptoms include:
Redness of the eyes
Itching of the eyes
The symptoms may overlap with those of eye allergies. However, the treatment should focus on the root cause of the symptoms. Dry eyes may result from different conditions. Hence, a proper diagnosis is necessary before treatment. In severe cases, surgery may be the option to consider. However, some treatments help alleviate symptoms and even resolve the issue causing low-quality tears.
Your doctor may prescribe antihistamines to alleviate your allergies. Clues like sneezing, itchy eyes, and a running nose may help determine that you are suffering from allergies. The antihistamine will stop the reaction in your immune system as you deal with the cause of the allergy.
Remember to take precautions when the pollen count is high. Close the windows in your car or house, and use the air conditioner. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind and dust. Also, wash your hands when you get into the house or after petting your dog.
For more on dry eye and allergies, contact Gregg Family Eye Care at our office in Secane, Pennsylvania. You can call (610) 831-4300 to book an appointment today.