What’s the Difference Between Dry Eye and Allergies?

Allergy season is always around the corner, so we need to be ready for it. No matter how common or seemingly unimportant a medical problem may seem to some, it is always a good idea to be aware of it in case it affects us, a friend, a family member, or a loved one.

The majority of the time, we confuse one condition for another and brush it off as nothing to worry about until we start to see it becoming worse and realize we need to see a doctor.

Such is the case for dry eyes and allergies.  You can be unsure whether you have allergies or dry eye syndrome if you have eye irritation without discharge.

While the symptoms of these two disorders are somewhat similar, eye allergies and dry eye have different underlying causes. However, dry eye conditions can also result from eye allergies.

Learn how eye allergy and dry eye symptoms differ from one another so you may choose the most effective course of action.

Eye Allergy Symptoms

Allergy-induced conjunctivitis is another name for eye allergies. It is not communicable, unlike bacterial and viral conjunctivitis. Itching stands out as the primary symptom of eye allergies in comparison to other eye conditions.

The itching could be so bad that accidentally scratching your eyes will make them red and teary. If your eyes do not itch, then another eye condition may be to blame for your symptoms.

It’s possible that the skin under and around your eyes is swollen. Allergy shiners are the term for the dark under-eye circles some people develop. You might even become sensitive to light.

Additionally, you can have wet eyes that seem like you are continually crying. You might feel compelled to rub your tears out of your eyes because you’re uncomfortable, but this might exacerbate the redness. Also, they might burn.

Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye, as the name suggests, results in severe dryness that might feel like burning. Because there aren’t enough tears to keep your eyes moistened, they get dry.

Similar to allergic eye conditions, dry eyes can burn and cause redness. However, allergies can result in swelling and itching, which lack of tears cannot.

A dry eye can interfere with vision if it is not treated. They consist of light sensitivity and hazy vision. In the most extreme circumstances, eye damage may become permanent.



The cause of dry eye will determine the course of treatment.

Contact with chemicals to which you are allergic results in eye allergies. To combat these substances, you release histamine, which then causes allergic reactions.


Eye allergies are typically seasonal for many people. You may be allergic to either tree or ragweed pollen if you exhibit more symptoms of eye allergies in the spring and fall.

You might suffer symptoms all year round, depending on your allergies. Pet hair, dust mites, mold, smoking, and perfumes or odors are additional probable allergens that could irritate your eyes.

If you suffer from hay fever (allergic rhinitis) or nasal allergies, you may be more likely to experience eye allergy symptoms also.

Treatment and Prevention

Keeping yourself from being exposed to things you’re allergic to is the greatest approach to avoid developing eye allergies. It’s not always possible to do this, though.

Eye allergies can be avoided by taking an oral antihistamine. Consider utilizing eye drops if you require immediate relief. Allergy eye drops that don’t include preservatives are usually the best.


In the US, at least 5 million people are thought to suffer from dry eyes. It occurs when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or when the tears they do produce dry out more quickly than usual.


When diagnosing yourself at home, dry eye condition is sometimes mistaken for an eye allergy.

Some occurrences could be a result of underlying illnesses, including thyroid disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Other potential reasons for dry eyes include:

  • Smoking
  • Dehydration
  • Little moisture
  • Hormone changes brought on by oral contraceptives or menopause

Whether it’s because of your job at the computer, watching television, or using your smartphone, spending too much time in front of a screen can cause dry eyes.

Reducing the amount of time spent in front of screens can sometimes help with dry eye issues.

Clinical studies have demonstrated that although an eye allergy and dry eye are two distinct illnesses, it is possible for chronic allergy symptoms in the eyes to progress to dry eye disease. Your eyes may get dry also if you use antihistamines for your allergies.

Treatment and Prevention

Unfortunately, taking eye drops intended for allergies might exacerbate untreated, dry eye. To help your doctor make a more precise diagnosis, you need to keep track of your symptoms.

Look for eye drops without preservatives, just like you would for eye allergy treatment. Your eyes can benefit from artificial tears. In more severe cases, prescription drops can be needed.

Although dry eye and eye allergies are frequent ocular conditions, they aren’t the only health issues that can affect your eyes.

If you suffer any of the above symptoms, call your doctor straight at once and set an appointment. These could be signs of other eye problems brought on by disease or trauma.  Look into dry eye clinical trials that can offer more medical information about the condition.

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