Symptoms of Dry Eye vs Seasonal Allergies?

There are lots of different problems that can affect our eyes, but two of the most commonly confused are dry eye and seasonal allergies. This confusion is mainly because they share many similarities, but there are also a few key differences that set them apart from one another. Here’s what you need to know about how to tell dry eye and seasonal allergies apart.



Similarities Between Dry Eyes and Allergies



The reality is that many of the symptoms of dry eyes and allergies are the same, and it is this that can make their underlying cause more difficult to determine. Some of the symptoms that they have in common include:



  • Redness

  • Burning

  • Eye fatigue

  • Watery discharge (which ironically, is the body’s response to lack of good quality tear film)

  • Stringy mucus around the eyes

  • Inflammation


The Itch Factor



The main difference between dry eye and seasonal allergies is itching! Although itching can occur with dry eyes, it is fairly uncommon. Meanwhile, itching is a standard allergic response for all types of allergies, including those which affect the eyes. This itching is caused by the release of histamines – a chemical that your body produces when it comes into contact with something it perceives as harmful.



And Just To Confuse You Further…



It’s actually possible to suffer from both dry eye and seasonal eye allergies at the same time! Generally, what this means is that your symptoms will be even worse than if you only had one of these frustrating and debilitating conditions.



Treatment For Dry Eye



There are a number of options for treating dry eye and improving your symptoms. Exactly which will work for you may be a case of trial and error and your eye doctor will happily work with you to determine which is most effective. Some of the treatments for dry eye include:



  • Artificial tears

  • Prescription eyedrops

  • Warm compresses and massage

  • Lipiflow thermal pulsation treatment

  • IPL laser therapy


Which you are recommended will likely depend on the severity of your dry eye, as well as the other treatments you have tried in the past.



Treatment For Eye Allergies



If you suffer from seasonal allergies that affect your eyes, the first line of treatment you will be offered will be antihistamines. As their name suggests, these work by counteracting histamine release, preventing many of the defences that your body will set off against the perceived threat and reducing your symptoms. Antihistamines can be administered in several different ways, from topical eyedrops to oral tablets and immunotherapy. Again, which treatment you will be offered will largely depend on how severe your eye allergies are.



In addition to conventional treatments, there are also things you can do to reduce the effects of your seasonal allergies at home. Primarily, you will need to try and limit your contact with the allergens. For example, if your eye allergies are triggered by grass, tree or flower pollen, you’ll be advised to keep your doors and windows closed when pollen levels are high. You can also wear glasses or sunglasses which will help prevent pollen spores from getting directly into your eyes where they will exacerbate your symptoms.



For more on the difference between dry eye and seasonal allergies, contact Seymour Eye Clinic at our office in Seymour, Indiana at (812) 523-6100.