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

Weeden Eye Clinic 662-539-7801

Corinth Eye Clinic 662-286-8860

Do your eyes feel dry, itchy, or irritated? Are they red and tearing up? These symptoms can be caused by either dry eye or allergies. But how do you know which one is the culprit? In this blog post, we’ll share the main differences between the two so you can get the right treatment. 

Understanding dry eye 

Dry eye happens when your eyes don’t make enough tears, or when your tears dry up too fast. It can be caused by different things like getting older, hormonal changes, certain medications, and environmental factors such as air conditioning or too much screen time. Signs of dry eye may include feeling like there’s something in your eyes, burning or stinging, watery eyes (your body’s attempt at compensating for dryness), blurry vision, and sensitivity to light.                                       

Understanding allergies 

Allergies, on the other hand, occur when your immune system overreacts to substances that are normally harmless. Some common allergens that can affect your eyes are pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores. Signs of eye allergies might include itching, redness, swelling around the eyes, watery discharge, and sensitivity to light. 

Distinguishing between the two 

So, how can you tell the two conditions apart? One of the main differences between dry eye and allergies is the intensity of itching. Allergies tend to cause more intense itching than dry eye. Itching with allergies can be unbearable at times, while dry eye usually causes mild itching. So, if you’re dealing with severe itching in your eyes along with other symptoms like sneezing and a stuffy nose, allergies could be to blame.  

Another way to tell if it’s dry eye or allergies is to check for puffiness or swelling around your eyes. Allergies often make your eyes puffy and swollen due to inflammation caused by an allergic reaction. In comparison, dry eye might make your eyes a little red, but it usually doesn’t cause major swelling. 

Seek professional help 

The best way to know for sure is to see an eye doctor for an eye exam. During the exam, they’ll ask about your symptoms and medical history and run various tests to figure out if you have dry eye or allergies. Sometimes, you can have both conditions together. For example, people with dry eye might experience secondary inflammation that can trigger an allergic reaction in the eyes. In these cases, the treatment will depend on which condition is causing more discomfort. 

If your eyes are bothering you, it’s important to find out what’s going on. Our optometrists in Corinth and Albany are here to help. Whether it’s allergies or dry eye, we can diagnose your symptoms and recommend treatment to relieve your discomfort and improve your eye health. We provide dry eye treatment in Corinth and Albany, including options like Thermal 1-touch digital heat therapy and BRUDER moist heat eye compresses. Schedule an appointment today and let us help you get back to feeling like yourself again!