Skip to main content
Call 662-222-0202
Home » Eye Care Services » Dry Eye » Is it Dry Eyes or Eye Allergies?

Is it Dry Eyes or Eye Allergies?

mother holding baby

Our Eye Doctors Provide Dry Eye Relief

Do you suffer from itchy, stinging, swollen or bloodshot eyes? While a number of causes can be to blame, the two most common reasons for eye irritation are dry eye syndrome and eye allergies.

Although the symptoms of these two eye conditions can be similar, there are also clear differences. Only a thorough eye exam by an eye care specialist can diagnose the cause of your eye irritation, which allows effective treatment. If you experience these symptoms, contact your local optometrist conveniently located near you.

Dry Eye

Tears are composed of three basic layers: water, mucin and lipids. Dry eye occurs when this composition is off-balance and there is too little of one of these components. Most of the time, dry eyes are due to not having enough lipids. The most common reaction to dry eyes is a burning sensation. In addition, your eyes may turn red and/or feel like there is sand or grit under your eyelids. Reflex tearing may also occur, which leads to watery eyes.

Treatment for Dry Eye

The usual dry eye treatment includes:

  • Using lubricating eye drops or ointments. Many over-the-counter medications are available, and it is advised to check with your eye doctor about which one is right for you.
  • Treating your Meibomian glands, which are responsible for lipid production. Your eye doctor may prescribe topical corticosteroids.
  • Treating underlying inflammation. Topical cyclosporine is approved by the FDA for this purpose. Sometimes, antibiotics with anti-inflammatory action may be used.
  • Nutritional supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids

Eye Allergies

The primary symptom of eye allergies is itchiness. With allergies, your eyes react to a substance that is not generally harmful – yet your eyes perceive it as harmful. This substance, an allergen, reacts with your mast cells, releasing histamine. Histamine causes redness, itchiness and inflammation. The most typical allergens are environmental, such as pollen, pet dander and dust mites.

Treatment for Eye Allergies

One of the most important tips we tell our patients is not to rub your eyes! Vigorous eye rubbing can spread the allergen and exacerbate your itch.

Typically, our eye doctors treat eye allergies with:

  • Avoidance of contact with the allergen, when possible
  • Antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer eye drops – to prevent the release of histamine
  • Cool compresses
  • Artificial lubricants for your eyes. Be sure to check with your optometrist before using an over-the-counter medicine to determine the best treatment for your condition.

Eye Allergies & Dry Eye at the Same Time

Dry eye and eye allergies can (and often do!) occur simultaneously. Unfortunately, the lack of a quality tear film will make your allergy symptoms worse. Tears are meant to block allergens from direct contact with your eyes, as well as dilute and flush them out of your eyes. That’s why moisturizing eye drops are often helpful at alleviating the discomfort of eye allergies.

Contact Lenses, Dry Eye & Ocular Allergies

If you wear contacts, both of these ocular conditions can complicate your comfortable vision. Fortunately, there is a multitude of contact lens types available nowadays, and some materials of lenses are better for your eye condition. For dry eyes, your optometrist may prescribe a contact lens that is more resistant to drying out. For sufferers of eye allergies, we often recommend daily disposables, because you discard them before allergens have a chance to build up on the contact lens surface.

x

Valued Patients,

Here at Brooks Eye Center, our patients’ and staff’s health and safety is our utmost priority. Given the recent outbreak of COVID-19, we are closely monitoring the situation as it applies to our patients and staff and adjusting procedures accordingly. We want our patients to know that we will do everything within our scope to keep providing quality eyecare while being diligent about infection control and prevention.

Our exam areas are being cleaned and disinfected after each patient is treated and all our staff are following strict hand-washing and sanitizing regimens. We have also implemented a pre-screening process and are taking measures to minimize waiting in common areas.

In addition to our in-office efforts, please consider the following preventative measures: if you have traveled internationally, been on a cruise, or traveled to a high-risk area, please call our office before coming in. Also, if you have a compromised immune system, have experienced any respiratory symptoms (cough, shortness, or fever), please reschedule to been seen at a later date.

These procedures are an effort to minimize any unnecessary exposure to possible viruses and infections to our staff and patients, as well as to prevent the spread of this virus as much as you can. Your patience and understanding during this time is greatly appreciated. Please don’t hesitate to call our office with any questions or concerns.

Thank you!