Differentiating a dry eye and eye allergy can be difficult, especially if you are experiencing eye discomfort that does not have a discharge. While the two eye conditions have symptom similarities, their underlying causes differ. You should also note that eye allergies can develop into dry eye syndrome.
Here are the similarities and differences in the best treatment approach to take.
According to research, over five million individuals in the United States suffer from dry eyes. The condition occurs when the eyes lack enough lubrication due to poor tear production. The problem also arises because of producing low-quality tears that dry up faster than they should.
You may diagnose your dry eyes as an allergy if you do not go to the doctor. Some cases develop from underlying medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis. Other causes can be hormonal imbalance, dehydration, low humidity, or smoking. Excessive screen time can also lead to dry eyes.
Below are the signs and symptoms of dry eye:
Scratchy, stinging, or burning sensation in the eyes
Sensitivity to light
Stringy mucus around and in your eyes
Difficulty driving at night
Difficulty wearing contacts
Watery eyes due to eye irritation
Eye allergies occur when your eyes react to allergens in your surroundings, such as pollen, dust, or mold. The body releases histamines that activate an allergic reaction by fighting the allergens.
Eye allergies are usually seasonal for most individuals. If you experience them during fall or spring, you may be allergic to pollen from trees or ragweed. You are also likely to have symptoms depending on the allergies you have.
Apart from pollen, other allergens may intensify your eyes, such as dust mites, fragrances, smoke, or pet dander. You may also have a high risk of getting eye allergy symptoms if you have hay fever or nasal allergies.
The common eye allergy symptoms include:
Feeling like you have grit or dirt in your eyes
Your vision may become briefly blurry. You are also likely to have an itchy or runny nose. You may have a sinus headache, sneeze, or cough. The allergy may make you feel tired, unproductive, or feel distracted.
If your symptoms do not get better and your eyes continue being dry, it is essential to seek medical help. Your doctor can examine you to determine the root cause of your symptoms. If they suspect you have allergies, they will do an allergy test.
Your eye doctor at Longview Eye Associates can recommend eye drops free of preservatives to treat your eye allergies. Using artificial eye drops also washes away allergens in the eyes. It is ideal to avoid exposure to things to which you are allergic. You can also take oral antihistamines to prevent allergies.
You can use prescription drops to treat your dry eye. Avoid eye drops meant to treat allergies, as they can worsen your condition. Your doctor may also recommend other treatments for your dry eyes, such as punctual plugs or LipiFlow®.
For more about dry eyes and allergies, visit Longview Eye Associates at our office in Longview, Texas. You can also call (903) 417-0070 to book an appointment today.