Allergies or Chronic Dry Eyes How to Know

Allergies or Chronic Dry Eyes? How to Know

  • By:Dr. Katie Dugan

Are your eyes irritated, dry, itching, watering, and uncomfortable? The truth is that chronic dry eyes and allergy symptoms are often similar, which is why many people confuse the two conditions.

But these two eye conditions have very different underlying causes. It’s essential to identify the underlying cause through a diagnosis so you can find an effective treatment plan.

How do you know the root cause of your uncomfortable symptoms? The truth is that patients often have both conditions. An eye doctor can help you get to the root of these issues to uncover why your eyes are bothering you.

What Causes Dry Eye Symptoms?

Dry eye syndrome happens for two reasons:

  • Tear Quantity: Your eyes aren’t producing enough tears to keep the front surface of the eye lubricated. When tear production decreases, then the eyes feel dry.
  • Tear Quality: The quality of the tears is low or unstable. Tears need the right balance of the oily outer layer, watery middle layer, and inner mucus layer.

Common causes of poor tear production include:

  • Blockage of the oil glands that contribute to tear production
  • Age (the older you get, the lower your tear production)
  • Medications, such as decongestants or antihistamines that decrease tear production
  • Environmental exposures, such as chemicals, smoke, allergens, or dry air
  • Not blinking frequently enough

What Causes Eye Allergies?

On the other hand, eye allergy symptoms occur when you are exposed to allergens or allergic triggers. This exposure starts an immune response that releases histamine in the body, resulting in allergy symptoms due to inflammation.

Common allergens that can contribute to dry eye symptoms include:

  • Pet dander
  • Smoke
  • Mold
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Perfume

Ironically, some people take allergy medications to reduce eye allergy symptoms – but the medications also decrease tear production, resulting in ongoing dry eye symptoms.

The Difference Between Dry Eyes and Allergy Symptoms

The most notable symptom that differentiates dry eyes from allergies is the level of itching you are experiencing. If your eyes are very itchy, then it’s likely that you are suffering from eye allergies. Also, pay attention to other related allergy symptoms, such as a runny nose and sneezing.

Also, it’s a good idea to talk to an eye doctor for a diagnosis and treatment. Contact us at Temecula Creek Optometry to schedule an appointment: (951) 302 -1331.

Posted in: Eye Health