Knoxville ranked 14th on the “most challenging places to live with fall allergies,” according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America report for 2018. Ragweed pollen, grass, and rotting leaves are the main allergy-causing culprits, and mold poses a year-round problem since it grows indoors as well as outdoors.
For many of us, these allergies cause redness or itchiness in our eyes, and symptoms may persist year round due to the wide variety of pollens and molds. However, it can be difficult to know whether eye irritation is caused by allergies or by dry eye syndrome, which is a very common condition, particularly in older adults. Both allergies and dry eye syndrome can cause similar symptoms, including:
- Red, irritated eyes
- Itchy eyes
- Burning sensation
- Gritty sensation
- Sensitivity to light
Choosing Over The Counter Eye Drops
Fortunately, over-the-counter eye drops, also referred to as artificial tears, often provide relief for those who suffer with symptoms from either allergies or dry eye syndrome. The catch is knowing which type of eye drop you need.
Dr. Gallaher recommends that you try lubricating eye drops first to see if your symptoms improve. If irritation or itching continues, you can add an over-the-counter antihistamine drop like Zaditor and Alaway. If your symptoms continue to persist, prescription eye drops may provide relief. You may also want to try preservative free eye drops, as the preservatives in some artificial tear drops irritate some people’s eyes.
Finding the right eye drop may take some time. If you’re dealing with dry eye syndrome, keep in mind that we have diagnostic tests that can quickly diagnose the severity of your dry eye syndrome.
It’s important to also know that symptoms like burning, stinging, light sensitivity, and blurry vision occur with a number of other eye conditions, not just from allergies or chronic dry eyes. It’s wise to have an annual eye exam to rule out eye diseases like macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetes, high blood pressure, or cataracts.
You don’t need to suffer with irritated or itchy eyes, either from allergies or dry eye syndrome. East Tennessee Eye Surgeons can help you determine the cause of your symptoms, and the best course of treatment for prolonged relief.
With two locations at 7800 Conner Road in Powell and 744 Middle Creek Road, Suite 200 in Sevierville, East Tennessee Eye Surgeons delivers the highest quality eye care in an exceptional setting. Visit our website to learn more about us, or call us at 865-546-1464 (Powell) or 865-908-7008 (Sevierville).