Are Allergies And Dry Eyes Related?

Dr. Mai-Vy Hoang 10/26/2016

man-with-red-eye.pngAllergies and dry eyes have some common symptoms, not the least of which are red, itchy and burning eyes that can even lead to occasional blurred vision. Known as dry eye syndrome, it's a common condition that affects one and five women, and one in 10 men, in the U.S.

There also appears to be a connection between allergies and dry eyes. Researchers reviewed over 3 million visits to Veterans Affairs eye clinics across the country over a five-year period and concluded that:

Nearly 21 percent of patients seen in April had dry eye, the same month when pollen counts were at their yearly high.

Increases in the number of dry eye cases occurred each spring during the five-year period. There was another spike in the winter, which is thought to be due to low humidity caused by indoor heating.

The number of dry eye cases was lowest in the summer.

With evidence showing that dry eye is more prevalent in certain times of year, it can possibly be prevented by wearing goggles during yard work and using indoor filters.

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is caused when the protective hydrating film of the eye has been altered. This film is made up of water, oil and mucus, and if any of these three components are out of balance, dry eye can occur. A variety of factors, including environmental factors, can cause moisture imbalances in the eye. The Texas Panhandle, with its dry, windy environment combined with pollen and other allergens, can increase the potential for dry eye irritation.

Symptoms Of Dry Eye

Symptoms of dry eye include burning, redness, irritation, blurred vision that comes and goes, and excessive watering of the eye. If left untreated, these symptoms can lead to itchy, painful eyes that are more susceptible to scratches and infections.

Who's Affected By Dry Eye?

Because the amount of film your eye produces decreases with age, your chances of getting dry eye syndrome are greater when you reach a certain age, such as over 50. But dry eye has increasingly affected people earlier in life, because time spent staring at computer screens, surfing the web, using smart devices, and watching TV can lead to poor blinking reflexes and insufficient lid closing. Dry eye syndrome is also very common among menopausal women, as well as those using oral conception or having hormone replacement therapy.

Broome Optical of Amarillo offers a variety of services, including treatment for dry eye syndrome. Learn about LipiFlow, a revolutionary dry eye treatment offered at Broome Optical.

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