Red eyes, watery discharge, sensitivity to light, and itching can be confusing symptoms. They may leave you wondering whether you are experiencing dry eyes or seasonal allergies. Therefore, here is some information to get you on your way. It will help you distinguish which of the two conditions you are experiencing.
The condition results from low quality or quantity of tears. It causes insufficient lubrication for the eyes, which causes the above symptoms. Other symptoms you may experience include:
Feeling like there is something in your eye
Burning or stinging sensation
Stringy mucus discharge
These are the body’s reactions to allergens. The body produces histamines to protect itself. These body chemicals try to remove the substances they think may be harmful to your body. In the process, they cause itching, a runny nose, and watery discharge from the eyes.
These symptoms are like those of dry eye syndrome. However, there are some differences.
When your eyes are extra dry, they will cause you to experience a burning or stinging sensation. It is one of the specific symptoms that dry eye causes. However, seasonal allergies can also cause dry eyes. So how do you differentiate between dry eye syndrome and dry eye from allergies?
The secret lies in itching. The itchiness from seasonal allergies is intense, while that from dry eye is mild. The reason is the histamines. They cause an extreme reaction as they try to remove allergens like pollen from your system. The itchiness may also extend to your nose, causing you to sneeze and have mucus discharge. Your eyes may also swell and become puffy due to the itching and rubbing.
There are different ways of resolving each issue. They deal with the underlying factors causing the conditions. If your symptoms result from dry eye syndrome, the doctor will find a way to resolve it. They will improve the quality or quantity of your tears. If it arises from seasonal allergies, they will relieve your symptoms and deal with the cause of the allergies.
There are different treatments for dry eye syndrome. However, some of them only relieve the symptoms. To treat the condition, the doctor needs to determine the root cause. Many times, it results from meibomian gland dysfunction. If this is the case, the doctor will prescribe treatment to unblock them. It improves the quality and quantity of your tears, preventing them from evaporating too fast.
The focal treatment is the use of antihistamines. It will deal with the reaction of the histamine chemicals, slowing down and stopping their production. The aim is to get the body not to react to pollen, dust, or smoke.
However, the best treatment for seasonal allergies is to avoid the triggers. It will limit histamine production and decrease your symptoms. With time, they will disappear, and you can comfortably get back to your daily activities.
For more information on seasonal allergies and dry eye, call Coastal Family Eyecare at (251) 974-1233 to reach our office in Orange Beach, Alabama.