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When environmental irritants like mold spores and pollen reach your body, they trigger an allergic reaction that releases histamines. This reaction, known as allergic conjunctivitis, causes a host of unpleasant symptoms, such as itching, burning, watering, and redness. 

The symptoms of dry eye go far beyond dryness and can be extremely uncomfortable and disruptive to daily life. They include light sensitivity, the feeling of a foreign body in the eye, stinging, redness, a sandy, gritty feeling, strings of mucus in or near the eyes, blurry vision, eye fatigue, pain while putting in contact lenses, and excess watering.

An intense itching sensation is what differentiates ocular allergies from dry eyes. It is possible to have both eye allergies and dry eye simultaneously, in which case, you must meet with a qualified ophthalmologist to make an accurate diagnosis. 

Fall Eye Allergy Triggers

The following substances are common triggers for ocular allergies:

  • Pollen
  • Spores
  • Mold
  • Dust mites
  • Ragweed
  • Pigweed
  • Sorrel
  • Sagebrush
  • Goldenrod
  • Pet dander

Tips For Avoiding Fall Eye Allergy Flare-Ups

  1. Limit your time outside before noon; pollen-producing weeds release most of their pollen in the early morning.
  2. Stay inside on windy days and when the pollen count is high. 
  3. Keep windows closed.
  4. Wear sunglasses outside to protect your eyes from irritants. 
  5. Use a dehumidifier to help prevent household mold. 
  6. Rake dead leaves and weeds off your property, as they can encourage the growth of mold. 
  7. Shower after spending time outdoors to rinse off mold spores and pollen from the skin. 
  8. Clean the house with a damp cloth as opposed to dry-dusting or sweeping.
  9. Avoid rubbing your eyes so as not to aggravate itchiness and swelling. 
  10. Opt for glasses over contact lenses during allergy flare-ups. 

Take Control of Your Eye Health This Fall

If you think you may be suffering from symptoms of seasonal allergic conjunctivitis or dry eyes, make an appointment with an eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam. A comprehensive eye exam with a board-certified ophthalmologist will help determine the cause of your symptoms, find out which medications and eye drops can help mitigate your symptoms, as well as rule out another potentially serious eye condition.

The expert ophthalmologists at Everett & Hurite are committed to providing high-quality eye care to patients of all ages. Our dry eye specialists are equipped with the latest technology to accurately diagnose dry eyes and can develop a customized treatment plan based on your symptoms. We have 10 offices conveniently located in Western Pennsylvania. Request an appointment with one of the physicians or call 412-288-0858.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there OTC eye drops for dry eyes?

Yes, there are OTC eye drops available for dry eyes. These artificial tears can provide temporary relief from symptoms such as dryness and irritation. However, it is important to consult with an ophthalmologist before using any medication for your dry eyes to ensure that it is the right treatment for you.

What is the difference between seasonal allergies and dry eye syndrome?

Seasonal allergies, also known as allergic conjunctivitis, are caused by environmental irritants such as pollen or mold. Symptoms include watery eyes, itching, runny nose, and blurry vision. Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition where the eyes do not produce enough tears to keep them lubricated and comfortable.

Can allergy sufferers experience dry eye symptoms?

Yes, it is possible because allergies can cause inflammation and irritation in the eyes, leading to decreased tear production and increased evaporation of tears. Allergy sufferers may also rub their eyes frequently, leading to further irritation and dryness.