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How Do You Know If You Have Dry Eye or Allergies?

Are your eyes constantly red, itchy, and dry? Both dry eye and allergies can cause these symptoms, making it hard to figure out what’s causing your discomfort. Understanding the difference between these two conditions is crucial for finding the right treatment. In this blog, we’ll explore these two conditions and how you can tell them apart.  

Understanding allergies 

Allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to something in your environment that is usually harmless. Common allergens include pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores. When these allergens come into contact with your eyes, they trigger an allergic reaction that causes redness, itching, watery eyes, and puffy, swollen eyelids. 

Understanding dry eye 

Conversely, dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears or when your tear quality is poor. This condition can be caused by various factors such as getting older, hormonal changes, certain medications (like antihistamines), autoimmune disease (such as rheumatoid arthritis), environmental factors like air conditioning or heating systems, or spending too much time on the computer. Symptoms can include itchy, red eyes, a burning or stinging sensation, a gritty feeling in your eyes, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, and even watery eyes

Distinguishing between the two 

So, how can you tell if you have dry eyes or allergies? One way to tell them apart is by paying attention to when the symptoms occur. If you have symptoms throughout the year, regardless of the season or weather changes, dry eye may be to blame. On the other hand, if you experience symptoms mainly during spring when there’s a lot of pollen in the air, it might be allergies. 

Another way to tell is to look at the discharge produced by your eyes. Allergy sufferers usually have clear, watery discharge, while those with dry eye typically have a thicker, stringy discharge. You might also experience other allergy symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, and a sore throat, which won’t be present if you have dry eye. Additionally, itching tends to be more intense with allergies than with dry eye.  

In conclusion, it’s essential to differentiate between dry eye and allergies to receive the right treatment for your symptoms. If you’re still not sure what’s causing your eye irritation and discomfort, make an appointment with our skilled eye doctor at Integrity Eye Care. Our optometrist is experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide range of eye conditions, including dry eye. We make sure to customize our dry eye treatment in Murfreesboro to each patient’s specific needs to ensure the best results. Don’t let your eyes suffer; schedule an appointment today!