Your eyes are so dry, red, and itchy you can barely stand to blink. Are you suffering from dry eye or seasonal allergies? There is a lot of overlap between these two common eye conditions and learning how to tell them apart could help you find relief sooner rather than later.
Dry Eye Syndrome
One of your eye’s best defense mechanisms against interlopers like dirt and dust is your tears. The watery, lipid-rich mixture that pours out of your tear ducts is more than just a weepy response to a sad movie, it’s your body’s way of lubricating your eyes. Some people don’t produce enough tears. This is what we call dry eye syndrome and symptoms includes eyes that are scratchy, stingy, burning, or painful. You may also experience excessive irritation, stringy mucus, and problems wearing your contact lenses.
Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes
When the pollen count kicks up, your eyes let you know. You may experience redness and tearing, but the biggest symptom of seasonal allergies is an almost unbearable itchiness. This is your body reacting to allergens by releasing histamines, a chemical made by your immune system to help repel allergy triggers — hence the antihistamines we often take when our allergies flare up.
Your treatment options depend on which condition is at the root of your itching and discomfort. For seasonal allergies, the aforementioned antihistamines can help quite a bit. You may also find relief from cool compresses, eye flushes, and artificial tears to help keep your eyes lubricated. Avoid exposure to environmental allergens as much as possible; this may include limiting your time outside, keeping your car and home windows closed, and staying away from smoke and dust, especially on windy days.
Eyedrops are also useful for treating dry eye syndrome, but Illinois Eye Center also offers three more advanced treatments: iLux, BlephEx, and TrueTear.
To learn more about dry eye treatment or get help for your itchy, sore eyes, call (309) 243-2400 and make an appointment at Illinois Eye Center today. Relief may be just around the corner.