Spring has arrived and this season plays a big factor in dry eye symptoms, mostly due to the presence of allergens, like pollen. Most cases, pollen is to blame for worsening symptoms during the spring months. Red, watery eyes are the hallmark of both allergies and dry eye.
If you have chronic dry eye that gets worse in spring, you may have allergies too. Dr. Stewart Shofner of Shofner Vision Center identifies the key differences between seasonal allergies and dry eye disease along with recommended treatment and tips to provide relief so you can enjoy Springtime activities.
Dry Eye can significantly impact a person's quality of life by inducing burning, irritation and blurred vision. The majority of dry eye is caused by a decrease in this lipid layer. Certain medical conditions can also cause dry eye. The most common symptoms include burning, a sandy, gritty feeling, redness and sometimes reflex tearing. While ocular allergies can also cause redness and tearing, the main symptom is itching.
· Dry eye treatment includes treating the meibomian glands, the underlying inflammation, and using tear lubricants. It’s important to schedule an exam with your vision care provider to determine if you have dry eye disease.
· Ocular allergy treatment includes using antihistamine (or mast cell stabilizers) to prevent the release of histamine from the mast cells.
Additional tips to alleviate the burning and irritation from seasonal allergies include:
Some people choose to use over- the- counter (OTC) artificial lubricants to self- treat dry eye and ocular allergy problems. Many times, the cost of OTC products exceeds the cost of prescription products, which are more effective. If you feel that you have dry eye or ocular allergies, see your vision care provider for a comprehensive exam, he or she will recommend the best treatment options for you.
If you have experienced vision changes, increased dry eye symptoms or if it’s been more than a year since your last eye exam, we encourage you to contact Shofner Vision Center to schedule an appointment. Visit us online or call (615) 340-4733 today.