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Differences Between Dry Eyes and Allergies

The Difference between Dry Eyes and Allergies in Farifax, VA

For many, spring is also known as allergy season. As trees bud, flowers bloom, and the grass turn green, pollen, and other irritants fill the air. As a result, our Fairfax optometrist sees patients each spring complaining of irritated eyes. Many patients assume their pain is due to allergies, but it could be a more serious condition known as dry eye.

woman putting in eye drops for dry eyes.

Allergy Symptoms and Dry Eyes in Fairfax

Allergies and dry eyes in Fairfax have several overlapping symptoms. The patient's eyes will be irritated, red, and may be painful. The patient may feel like there is something gritty in the eye.

Allergies are caused by sensitivity to a naturally occurring substance such as plant pollen. The body's immune system kicks into overdrive, wrongly classifying this substance as a foreign invader. The body releases histamine in response and seeks to drive the substance out. Most allergies can be treated with over the counter eye drops or oral medications.  

Dry eye is a much more serious condition caused by a lack of tears. Tears are more than simply saline; they have three layers which include mucin, water, and lipids. These substances work together to protect the eye. When too much water or mucin is produced or too little lipid, the tears do not adequately lubricate the eye. Without adequate tear protection, the eye not only becomes irritated and painful, the patient may complain of vision problems.  Dry eye treatment includes medications that lubricate the eye, increase tear production, and/or reduce inflammation. Our optometrist in Fairfax can diagnose and provide treatment for dry eye. 

Looking for an Eye Doctor Fairfax? Contact Dr. Howard Budner & Associates in Fairfax, VA Today!

Suffering from eyes that are dry, red, irritated or painful?  Contact Dr. Howard Budner & Associates today for more information on scheduling an appointment with an optometrist in Fairfax.