Are You Suffering from Seasonal Dry Eye or Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome?
While we’re ready for cooler weather, the allergies that come with the change in seasons can cause our eyes to become irritated. Seasonal dry eye is very common and the symptoms are similar to chronic dry eye. It can be difficult to tell if the sensations you’re experiencing are related to seasonal allergies, or if they are the warning signs of a larger issue.
Symptoms of Seasonal Dry Eye
From pollen to pets, there are numerous kinds of allergens that can result in seasonal dry eye. A common way to differentiate between seasonal dry eye and chronic dry eye is to assess your respiratory system. If you are experiencing a runny nose, cough, sore throat, or congestion in addition to experiencing dry eye it is likely you have seasonal allergies.
Another factor to account for is the change in seasons. Typically, the summer months do not cause seasonal dry eye due to the humidity in the air and the stable temperature. On the other hand, the increase of pollen in the spring and the colder air in the fall can cause seasonal dry eye. If you only experience dry eye during certain months, it is likely you have seasonal dry eye. The symptoms below are commonly associated with seasonal dry eye.
- Watery Eyes
- Puffy Eyes
Symptoms of Chronic Dry Eye
Chronic dry eye syndrome is caused by an irregular tear makeup within the tear film. The tear film is made of three layers: the lipid layer, the aqueous layer, and the mucin layer.
If the tear film does not function properly, your eyes either produce too many tears or not enough tears. A common misconception among patients is that eyes that are constantly watery are not dry. In fact, the overproduction of tears is a sign of dry eye syndrome. Eyes overproduce tears when the tear film is not functioning properly. Below are some common symptoms of chronic dry eye syndrome.
- Feeling like sand is in your eye
- Eyes alternate between dry and watery
- Eyes produce stringy discharge
- Having to blink multiple times to see clearly
- Feeling like there is a film over your eyes
Tips for Dry Eye Relief
If you’re suffering from seasonal dry eye or chronic dry eye, there are things you can do to minimize your suffering.
Avoid placing a fan directly in front of your face - Having a fan blowing on your eyes can cause them to dry out faster.
Take breaks from looking at screens - For more information on how screen time affects your vision, check out our previous blog.
Use a humidifier - A humidifier will add moisture to the air around you, and help prevent your eyes from drying out.
Allergy Medicine - Your doctor can prescribe you an allergy medicine that won’t further dry out your eyes.
Artificial tears - Your ophthalmologist may prescribe you artificial tears, which are eye drops designed to supplement your natural tears.
LipiFlow - If your dry eye syndrome is more complicated, your ophthalmologist may suggest LipiFlow. During this procedure, glands in the eyelids called the meibomian glands are warmed and massaged gently, thus promoting improved natural tear production.
Punctal occlusion - Special plugs can be placed in your tear ducts in order to seal them off and better hold the natural tears within the eye.
AMCL - Amniotic membrane contact lens, created by Dr. Ming Wang of Wang Vision Institute, reduces dryness and inflammation within the eye.
If you’re ready to experience relief from dry eyes, schedule a consultation with Wang Vision Institute today.