Are you experiencing dry eyes or allergies that irritate your eyes? In the quest to achieve overall health through a better lifestyle, it’s easy to hyper-focus on our muscles and figure. However, let’s not forget the other parts of our body that need the same love and attention.
Just like our eyes! Nobody wants eye discomfort, especially when training or exercising. Now, if you’re experiencing eye irritation, you might wonder if you have allergies or dry eye syndrome.
While the symptoms of these two illnesses are similar, eye allergies and dry eye have different underlying causes. So that you’ll know the best treatment approach to what you’re experiencing, read on to find out the differences and similarities between the symptoms of eye allergy and dry eye.
Eye allergies can arise at any time of the year, depending on your type of allergy and where you live. When your body becomes sensitive to environmental stimuli such as dust, pollen, mildew, grass, ragweed, and pet dander, it develops allergic conjunctivitis.
In addition, if your eye problems appear with nasal congestion, sneezing, or a runny nose, allergies are likely to be the cause.
Other symptoms include:
- Itchy throat
- Skin irritation
- Burning sensation
- Redness and swelling of the eyelids
Treatment and Prevention For Eye Allergies
The easiest method to avoid eye allergies is to prevent exposure to the substances you are allergic to. But, of course, this isn’t always possible.
For treatment, you can opt to take an oral antihistamine. Of course, you can always use your trusty eye drops if you require instant relief. Preservative-free eye drops are the best choice for those who suffer from allergies.
Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition. Your surroundings, lifestyle habits, medical conditions, medication, or even age can cause it. Your eyes drying up may also be brought on by excessive screen time, whether related to your job, watching television, or using your smartphone.
This disorder causes poor-quality tears, reduced tear production, or damage to the eye’s surface. The thing about our eyes is that they need to create new tears regularly so that they’re hydrated and moist.
These tears need to have three layers: an oil layer, a mucous layer, and a water layer. The quality of the tears will deteriorate if any of these layers are affected.
As a result, the tears may evaporate too fast, resulting in dry eyes. For our contact-wearing friends, having dry eyes can make wearing your contacts uncomfortable. In extreme cases, and if left untreated, dry eyes can lead to vision loss.
Other symptoms include:
- Blurred vision
- Burning sensation
- Eye pain
- Excessive dryness, followed by episodes of tears
Treatment and Prevention For Dry Eyes
Depending on the severity of your dry eye problems, you may need a different treatment approach.
For example, your eye doctor may recommend specialized eye drops for dry eyes or over-the-counter artificial tears solution to keep your eyes hydrated throughout the day.
On the other hand, they may prescribe you a medicated or steroid eye drop for severe dry eye symptoms. As for preventing dry eyes, you can do the following:
- First, avoid getting air in your eyes. It would be best not to direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners, and fans toward your eyes.
- Fill the air with moisture. In the winter, use a humidifier as it can help add moisture to dry indoor air.
- During long tasks, take breaks to rest your eyes. For example, take occasional eye rests if you’re reading or performing a task that demands visual attention. Then, for a few minutes, close your eyes. You can also opt to blink a few times to help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.
- Be conscious of your surroundings. High altitudes, arid locations, and airplanes can have exceptionally dry air. Remember to close your eyes for a few minutes when in these environments to keep your tears from evaporating.
- Stop smoking and stay away from smoke. Smoking worsens dry eyes. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about developing a strategy that will work for you. If you don’t, keep your distance from those who do.
A Note About Self-Treatment & When To Seek Help
We often dismiss eye problems because we can rely on over-the-counter medicines to manage eye allergies and dry eyes. However, self-treatment will only work for specific ailments and may not offer you the relief you need. You may find that working with a vision insurance broker at this point can benefit you. Having the right insurance plan for your eye care may come in handy from now on.
If you think you have severe eye allergies, dry eyes, or both, it would be a hundred times better to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive examination and to discuss your treatment options. See your doctor immediately if you have any of the following symptoms. They might signify another eye problem brought on by sickness or injury.
- pus or yellowish discharge from the eye, or crusty buildup in the eye (which becomes worse when you wake up) might be signs of a bacterial conjunctivitis infection
- a red lump on the eyelid or near the eye, which might show an insect bite
- eyelid cuts or tears, or blood on the white area of your eye
- difficulty seeing or blinking in one or both eyes
- a sensation that something is stuck in your eye despite attempts to remove it with water, tears, or blinking
- one or both eyes have chronic pain
- any changes in the color, size, or shape of your pupils
Find Relief From Dry Eyes and Eye Allergies
If we leave our dry eyes and eye allergies untreated, they’ll only worsen. Both illnesses can cause pain and suffering, which can lower our quality of life—and we don’t want that!
So, to achieve overall health, we must include our eyes in our diet and nutrition plans and our lifestyle shifts.
Don’t forget to speak to your eye care professional so that they can evaluate the ailment you have and design a treatment plan just for you.
For more actionable health and fitness tips, read our TF Clark Fitness Magazine articles.