With the warmer weather approaching, spring is an exciting time to enjoy the outdoors and soak up vitamin D. However, for some people, it brings allergies that cause irritable symptoms such as watery eyes and itchy eyes.
Sometimes, allergies and dry eyes have common symptoms so it’s important to know which one you have so it can be appropriately treated. In this blog, we will discuss how to tell the difference between irritated eyes from allergies and dry eyes.
Allergies – Watery and Itchy Eyes
Many people have seasonal allergies that cause itchy and watery eyes, but how does this exactly happen in the body? An allergen such as pollen or dust comes into contact with the immune system and it causes a reaction that releases histamine. Your body has this type of reaction because it views the allergen as a threat to your body.
When histamine is released, it causes a host of inflammation to the body and produces symptoms such as redness and itchiness. Your immune system is essentially in overdrive and it is trying to get rid of this “toxin” that has entered your body.
If you have allergies in the eye, usually both of your eyes are watery and itchy. You may also have other allergic symptoms in the body such as a runny nose or inflammation around the body (hives). Your optometrist can distinguish if it is allergies by looking at your eye under the microscope.
Treatment of allergies in the eyes is effective with anti-allergy drops as prescribed by your eye doctor. Your doctor may also recommend a cool compress to reduce the inflammation and preservative-free artificial drops.
Blepharitis and Demodex – Itchy Eyes
Blepharitis is an inflammation of eyelid margin caused by bacterial buildup and debris. Similarly, Demodex is an infestation of mites on your eyelids that can cause irritation. The accumulation of both bacteria and Demodex mites can cause your eyelids to be inflamed and itchy.
Treatment for blepharitis and Demodex include eyelid wipes as recommended by your eye doctor and in-office procedures such as clinical microblephroexfoliation (ZEST). You can read our previous blog on blepharitis and how to clean your eyelids.
Dry Eyes or a Poor Drainage System – Watery Eyes
Now, we will be discussing the cause of teary eyes. First of all, your tears drain out of your lacrimal system, but if your lacrimal system is clogged or narrow then you will end up with watery eyes. Your eyes may also water because your tears are drying up so quickly that it triggers a response in your brain to produce more tears.
Allergies can also cause watery eyes, but it usually also accompanies itchiness. Your optometrist can determine the root cause of your watery eyes and help manage it.
Treatment for dry eyes can range from at-home maintenance (drops or warm compresses) to in-office procedures (LipiFlow, Radiofrequency or Intense Pulsed Light). If you need to unclog your tear drainage system then your eye doctor may perform dilation and irrigation.
Do You Want to Reduce Your Dry Eyes and Itchy Eyes? Find a Dry Eye Doctor to Help!
If you are suffering from watery or itchy eyes and want to reduce the symptoms, speak to an expert in the optometry field. They can figure out your diagnosis and prescribe the right treatment. Head over to our doctor locator to find a clinic near you and enjoy the spring weather without irritated eyes!