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

Mar 1, 2024

Are your eyes feeling dry, itchy, and irritated? These could be signs of dry eye or allergies. Both conditions are very common, and it can be difficult to distinguish between the two. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what dry eye and allergies are, how to tell them apart, and what you can do to manage them. 

Understanding dry eye 

Dry eye occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when the quality of your tears is poor. You might experience itching, burning, redness, sensitivity to light, blurred vision, or a feeling like there’s something stuck in your eyes. Dry eye can be caused by aging, certain medications, medical conditions like arthritis, or environmental factors such as low humidity or air conditioning. 

Understanding allergies 

Allergies happen when your immune system overreacts to a substance that’s normally harmless (like pollen or pet dander). This triggers an allergic reaction that can affect different parts of your body, including your eyes. Symptoms of allergies include itching, redness, watery discharge from the eyes, and puffiness or swelling around the eyes. 

How to tell the difference 

It can be challenging to differentiate between dry eye and allergies since they have some overlapping symptoms. However, some clues may help you identify which one you’re experiencing: 

  • Intense itching is usually a sign of allergies 
  • Puffy or swollen eyes are more common with allergies than dry eye 
  • Congestion and a stuffy nose accompany allergies but not dry eye 
  • Pay attention to when your symptoms occur: if they occur during specific times of the year like spring, then allergies are likely to blame. 

Treatment options 

Treatment options for dry eye and allergies are different. Dry eye treatment includes artificial tears, prescription eye drops, and lifestyle changes such as blinking more frequently, taking breaks from screens, and using a humidifier. Allergy treatment may include antihistamines, decongestants, or allergy shots, depending on how severe your symptoms are. 

In conclusion, understanding the difference between dry eye and allergies is crucial for finding the right treatment and getting relief from your symptoms. Hanna Eye Care is a leading provider of eye care services and dry eye treatment in Jacksonville, Florida. Our eye doctors can determine the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend treatment to help you find relief and improve your overall eye health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!