Fall Allergies causing Dry Eyes?

While some are excited about the Fall season, many middle Tennesseans are suffering from allergy symptoms. One of the many annoyances of fall allergens, especially for those that wear contact lenses is dealing with dry eye. While some may find relief using over-the-counter eye drops (artificial tears), others are encouraged to see an ophthalmologist for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Why are my eyes dry?

To maintain healthy vision, it's important to determine the underlying cause of dry eye. Eye doctors can perform imaging tests to look for problems with the meibomian glands, which produce an oil found in healthy tears. Additional diagnostic tests used by dry eye experts can determine if someone has any of the following:

  • allergic conjunctivitis
  • blepharitis
  • meibomian gland dysfunction
  • floppy eyelid syndrome
  • corneal dystrophies
  • autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or Graves' Disease

Many people that struggle dry eye may experience eye fatigue, light sensitivity, blurred vision, or burning sensation that increases itchy eyes. Dry eye may also affect night driving, reading, watching tv, using a computer, or smart device.

Dry Eye Treatment

In addition to artificial tears, a few home remedies may provide relief for occasional dry eye. Drinking additional water throughout the day, using a warm compress, properly removing eye makeup, avoiding dry environments (heaters) and smoke, and blinking often are recommended. It's also recommended to wear eyeglasses for those that wear contact lenses. Your eye doctor may suggest other treatments:

  • Punctual plugs
  • Medications to prevent/reduce infection or inflammation
  • Prescription drops: Restasis, Xiidra, Cequa or Eyesuvis
  • Deep cleaning devices such as LipiFlow, TearCare, or Blephex.

It's important to learn if your dry eyes are from seasonal allergies or if there is an underlying cause. Contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule a comprehensive eye exam to determine the best course of treatment.

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