Allergies can make the eyes dry and itchy. In some cases, allergy medications can dry out the eyes. When the eyes become dry, they can experience symptoms such as watering, redness and burning.
Dry eyes are a common problem that affects about 16 million people in the United States. There are many causes of dry eye, including irritants and allergens such as smoke or pollen.
There are five main allergies that can affect the eyes. Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI), these include:
- Year-round or seasonal allergic conjunctivitis
- Vernal keratoconjunctivitis
- Atopic keratoconjunctivitis
- Contact allergic conjunctivitis
- Giant papillary conjunctivitis
This article addresses dry eyes caused by allergies. We also discuss the symptoms and causes of dry eye, and ways to treat and prevent it.
Causes of dry eye
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the possible causes of dry eyes are:
- whether in dry weather or strong winds
- medical conditions such as thyroid disease or arthritis
- Prolonged use of contact lenses
Response to medications such as antihistamines, antihistamines, beta blockers, antidepressants, or anxiety medications
Response to surgery
Possible triggers for dry eye caused by allergies or irritations include:
- Animal hair
- Tree, grass and weed pollen
- Turn off traffic
- Dust particles
- Cigarette smoke
Dry eye symptoms
When the eyes become dry due to allergens or other reasons, a person may experience:
- Sensation as if something were stuck in the eye
- or redness around the eyes
- A watery discharge from the eye
- The sense of burning
A person may experience blurred vision or sensitivity to light, adds a reliable source from the National Eye Institute.
Eye allergy symptoms vary depending on the type of allergy causing the problem. Some people may have symptoms associated with seasonal allergies, such as: b. Runny nose or sore throat.
Year-round or seasonal allergic conjunctivitis
When environmental allergies cause dry eyes, individuals may experience certain eye symptoms, e.g.
- Pouring waters
- Spring and atopic keratoconjunctivitis
Vernal keratoconjunctivitis and atopic keratoconjunctivitis are more serious forms of eye allergy. Men with neurodermatitis or asthma are particularly affected.
Although the two conditions have much in common, atopic keratoconjunctivitis tends to affect older men with a history of atopic dermatitis or eczema.
Symptoms usually appear throughout the year but can worsen at different times of the year. The characteristics are:
- Sensation as if something were happening in the eyes
- Sensitivity to light
- Thick discharge or mucus around the eyes
- contact massive allergic papillary conjunctivitis
Allergic contact conjunctivitis occurs when the eye comes into direct contact with a foreign object, such as contact lenses.
Symptoms of contact allergic conjunctivitis include:
- Discomfort or pain from wearing contact lenses
Giant papilla conjunctivitis is a more severe form of allergic contact conjunctivitis.
The conjunctivitis symptoms listed above are the large papillae, but one can also experience:
- Blurred vision
Dry eye treatment
A person can take home steps to manage and treat dry eye. This includes environmental controls and combinations of over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
ACAAI recommends reducing allergens in the environment:
- Wear glasses instead of contact lenses
- Wash hands after handling animals
- Use a dehumidifier to control mold in your home
- Stay indoors as much as possible during times of high pollen counts and closed windows
- Wear sunglasses or goggles outdoors to prevent pollen from entering your eyes.
- Use anti-mite bedding and keep your living space clean
- Wash your face after exposure to allergens
In addition to limiting exposure to allergens, people can talk to their doctor about over-the-counter and prescription dry eye medications. Some possible options are:
- Dilution of eye drops
- artificial tears
- Oral antihistamines – may make symptoms worse, but
- Allergy shot
- eye drops version
- Insomnia antihistamine prescription
When you talk to your doctor
Because there are many causes of dry eye, you should call your doctor if dry eye persists or if your symptoms don’t improve. A doctor can identify and diagnose other causes of dryness.
Doctors often ask about symptoms and examine the affected eye. According to the American Optometric Association (AOA), your doctor will check for:
- What the eyes look like on the outside, including the shape of the eyelids and how a person closes their eyes
- What the eyelids and cornea look like under bright light and magnification
- The amount of tears a person produces
- Nature of human tears
If your doctor suspects an allergy, he may recommend allergy testing.
An irritant such as pollen, smoke or pet dander, an underlying medical condition, or a drug reaction can cause dry eyes.
Dry eye usually causes redness, pain, and itching. Taking over-the-counter medications and taking steps to avoid exposure to allergens can help.
If you can’t control dry eye, you should see your doctor.