Is It Spring Allergies, Dry Eye, Or Both?

Is It Spring Allergies, Dry Eye, Or Both?

April 27th, 2020
man sneezing into tissue

Spring is finally upon us, and with that means allergy season. Allergies can mean different things to different people.

For some that can mean itchy skin, a runny nose, or vision problems. With the eyes, seasonal allergies can cause a lot of annoying and painful symptoms.

Many of these symptoms can also be found in people who have chronic dry eye syndrome. The symptoms may be similar but treatment is very different. Keep reading to find out if it could be allergies, dry eye, or both!

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a condition that usually occurs because of a problem with tear production. This is either with the number of tears produced or with the quality of the tears.

It results in symptoms like stinging, redness, itchiness, light sensitivity, grittiness, and blurry vision.

There are many things that can cause dry eye. These can include aging, other medical conditions, medication side effects, damage to the tear glands, screen use, and environmental factors. Often a combination of more than one of these is the culprits.

How Allergies Affect the Eyes

An allergic reaction occurs when the body overreacts to certain stimuli that should be harmless. This includes things like pollen, dust, mold, and pet dander.

When the allergen comes into contact with antibodies in our eyes, mast cells release chemicals like histamines. Histamines then cause blood vessels to leak.

This causes symptoms that may sound familiar: itchiness, redness, and general discomfort.


There are some basic ways to treat both dry eye and allergies. The first thing you should do is limit your exposure to outside factors.

Keep inside during high pollen counts. This is especially true during the midmorning and early evening.

Make sure to also keep your windows closed and clean frequently using a damp cloth rather than a dry duster. You can control the humidity of your home.

Not too much to prevent mold growth, but not too little so your eyes dry out. Consider buying a humidifier so your eyes don’t get too dry.

Over the counter eye drops are also a great way to control symptoms, although they won’t solve a chronic problem. Be sure to research good eye drop application techniques to get the most out of your drops.

Prescription eye drops may be prescribed to you to provide fast relief and longer-lasting treatment. These can be prescribed for either problem.

If your dry eye or allergies are persistent and uncontrollable, you may need to talk to a specialist about other solutions. Dry eye may be treated with certain therapies or eye inserts.

Oral medication immunotherapy may be beneficial to those with severe allergies. Always talk to a doctor before starting a new medication.

Schedule an Appointment

It can be difficult to tell if you are experiencing allergies or something that will last longer. At the end of the day, only your doctor will be able to confirm whether you need intervention.

Set up an appointment at Laser Eye Center in Huntsville, Alabama to take the guesswork out of your eye care!