Irritated eyes can make it difficult to get through the day. Something as simple as driving your morning commute can seem like a monumental task. In order to feel better, you have to know what’s causing your condition. Do you have dry eyes? Are you suffering from allergies? Could it be both?

First, let’s look at the numbers. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), more than 35 million Americans suffer from some form of seasonal allergy. “It’s not spring!” you may be saying. This is a common mistake, because allergies are not limited to spring. Eye-irritating pollen is in the air from April to August. That’s right now! These allergy symptoms very often resemble dry eye symptoms, which is why it can be a challenge to decide which condition is making you suffer.

Why does it matter? You must first know which condition you have because allergy treatment is quite different from dry eye treatment. As a quick example, dry eye disease occurs due to a breakdown of your tear film, which is the thin film of tears that coats your eye’s surface. This can prevent your eye from getting the right amount or type of tears it needs to properly function. Allergy medicine won’t replace this film, so it won’t fix your dry eyes.

Another reason to know what is making you suffer is because the cure for one is the cause for another. While antihistamines help many allergy sufferers get back to normal life, they are considered a common cause of dry eye symptoms. Taking oral antihistamines on the off chance they work could actually be making your situation much worse.

But wait…a breakdown of your eye’s film also makes it more difficult to deal with outside allergens. If the tear film is very low, it does not effectively wash away the allergens. You could actually be suffering from both conditions.

Both seasonal allergies and dry eye disease are treatable in most cases. Effective management of your symptoms can help you live a more symptom-free lifestyle. The key is to determine one from the other or to find out if both are present. Once you know this, you will also know the best course to take to find relief.

Eye Care Professionals is here to help you determine the root of your uncomfortable eyes and find a solution. We offer a number of dry eye treatments, including Lipiflow. Lipiflow unblocks the microscopic Meibomian Glands within the eyelid margins. When they become obstructed, it contributes to inflammation, dryness, and eye irritation. By removing these obstructions and restoring a more normal flow of these eyelid oil glands, our team is able to stabilize the tear film. This helps protect and improve the ocular surface.