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May 1, 2024 | Dry Eye Syndrome

How Do You Know If You Have Dry Eye or Allergies?

Dry eye and eye allergies have similar symptoms, so many people confuse the two. This can make it more difficult to find the right treatment. In this blog post, we will share the key differences between dry eye and allergies to help you identify which one you may be dealing with.  


One of the main differences between dry eye and allergies is seasonality. Allergies tend to flare up during certain times of the year when pollen counts are high, while dry eye can occur year-round. If you notice that your symptoms are worse during spring or fall, it’s more likely that you are dealing with allergies. On the other hand, if your eyes feel dry and irritated consistently throughout the year, regardless of the season, it’s most likely dry eye. 


Dry eye and allergies also have different causes. There are a number of factors that can trigger dry eye, including living in a dry or windy climate, staring at screens for extended periods without blinking enough, or taking certain medications. On the other hand, allergies are usually caused by exposure to allergens like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, or mold. Pay close attention to when your symptoms start and any potential triggers to help identify whether dry eye or allergies are behind your discomfort. 

Intensity of itching 

Another important factor to consider is the intensity of itching. While both dry eye and allergies can cause itching, allergies typically lead to more severe and persistent itching compared to dry eye. Whenever your eyes feel extremely itchy and uncomfortable, allergies are more likely to be to blame. 

Your symptoms 

Aside from itching, other symptoms can help distinguish dry eye from allergies. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis, such as sneezing, congestion, and runny nose, are not normally associated with dry eyes. You may be suffering from allergies if you are constantly reaching for tissues due to sneezing fits. On the other hand, people with dry eye may notice a gritty feeling in their eyes, burning, stinging, redness, light sensitivity, a mild itch, blurry vision, and watery eyes. 

Understanding the differences between dry eye and allergies is crucial in determining the right course of treatment for your eye condition. If you’re still unsure about what’s causing your symptoms, it’s always best to consult with an optometrist for a proper evaluation and personalized treatment plan.  

At Casey Optical Co., our experienced team can evaluate your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment options for both dry eye and allergies. If dry eye is the culprit, our dry eye specialist in Albuquerque offers a range of treatment options to help you find lasting relief and improve your overall eye health. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment!