Identifying the Difference Between Allergies & Dry Eyes

Often times, Dry Eyes are mistaken for eye allergies as symptoms for both include burning, itching, stickiness, redness, and stinging of the eyes. To make things even more complicated, an eye allergic episode can exacerbate Dry Eye disease, making Dry Eye symptoms worse.

Dry Eye is a reduction in your eyes’ ability to produce or maintain sufficient natural tears. Your eyes normally make small amounts of tears all day long. Tears play several important roles in keeping your eyes healthy and your vision clear – they lubricate the eye’s surface, wash away debris, provide a smooth surface to help keep your vision clear, and also contain natural antibiotics that keep your eyes safe from germs that may cause infections. When the eye becomes inflamed, it starts making large quantities of tears in an effort to soothe itself. However, these bad tears don’t soothe the eye at all – they run down your face, further irritating the eye and continuing the cycle.

Eye allergies are a hypersensitivity response to things like pollen, dust, and animal dander. Different treatments are required for each condition.

Though the symptoms of dry eyes may seem like little more than a nuisance to some, dry eye syndrome can lead to serious eye problems if left untreated. Inflammation of the front surface of the eye increases the risk of some infections, and can also lead to scarring. Once scarring occurs, permanent loss of sight can occur.

If you are suffering from persistent eye irritation, the doctors at John-Kenyon recommend an exam with an eye doctor who can properly diagnose your condition as Dry Eye or eye allergies and provide recommendations for appropriate treatment.