Dry eyes may sometimes feel like allergies because they share some symptoms. Dry eye makes your eyes extremely dry, creating a burning sensation. The eyes dry out because they do not have enough tears to moisturize them.
Like dry eye, eye allergies can cause soreness and burning. Due to their similarities, differentiating between the two can be challenging and may lead to an inaccurate diagnosis. Here are six differences between dry eyes and eye allergies to help you learn to differentiate them
Itchy eyes are perhaps the main difference between allergies and dry eyes. The lack of tears associated with dry eyes does not cause itchiness and inflammation like allergies. Eye allergies, whether year-round or seasonal, can make your eyes itchy. Allergens such as dust, pollen, mold, or pet dander can trigger allergies and cause itchiness.
Itchiness can make your eyelids swell. Swollen eyelids are another common symptom of eye allergy. Also, when your eyes encounter an allergen, your body responds by releasing histamine. When that happens, the blood vessels inside your eyelids become inflamed, making your eyelids puffy.
If your eyes feel grainy, it can be due to dry eye. Other conditions that can cause a gritty feeling in your eye include sunburned eyes, blepharitis, and Sjogren’s syndrome. While eye allergies are not a direct cause of grittiness, they can prompt dry eye, a cause of the gritty feeling.
People sensitive to pollen, mold, smoke, dust, or pet dander can have allergic reactions that trigger allergic conjunctivitis. Allergic conjunctivitis can cause dry eyes. Dry eyes can then make you feel like you have sand particles in your eyes.
When your body releases histamine to fight allergens, your eyes become watery. This scenario is common with allergy victims. Allergens cause your eyes to become sore and irritated, stimulating tear production. In some cases, dry eyes can make your eyes watery. But the tears produced are not enough to moisturize the eyes.
Dry eye often brings about blurred vision. Your tears shield your eyes from infection and damage. Without enough tears, your eyes are at a higher risk. If left unaddressed, dry eye may lead to corneal injury, blurred vision, and vision loss.
Eyes that feel extremely dry can make it difficult for you to blink because your eyelids may get stuck to your eyeballs.
Dark circles under the eyes are common with eye allergies. When you have an eye allergy, your body reacts by releasing histamine. It is the histamine that makes your eyes itch and becomes watery. Naturally, you will feel like rubbing your eyes when they itch. Doing so causes dark circles to form under your eyes.
Dry eye and allergies have similar symptoms, yet they are so different. With an eye exam, your eye doctor can assess your symptoms and perform tests to identify their cause. Contact your eye doctor if you are experiencing signs of dry eye or eye allergies.
To learn more about dry eyes and eye allergies, visit Raleigh Eye Center at our offices in Raleigh, Durham, Reidsville, Henderson, North Carolina, or South Hill, Virginia. Call (919) 876-2427, (919) 899-2427 or (252) 492-8021 to book an appointment today.