During the fall, everyone enjoys getting outdoors to go camping, sit around bonfires and do yard work. Unfortunately for those of us with dry eye, these activities also bring allergies that can wreak havoc on our eyes. Don’t let itchy, irritated eyes keep you from enjoying the hallmarks of fall. Read on to learn how you can help keep your eyes happy and healthy all season long.
Common symptoms associated with dry eye disease
Dry eye is a common condition that affects millions of people throughout the world. It occurs when the eyes produce poor-quality tears or not enough tears. While allergy season can worsen dry eye symptoms, there are many potential underlying causes. Some of these include age, side effects from certain medications, or wearing the wrong type of contact lenses.
Ophthalmologists and optometrists measure the activity of the tear ducts to properly diagnose dry eye. Because there are many possible causes, each with different treatments, professional examination is needed to ensure the best outcome.
Dry eye disease is often a chronic condition. It can cause a variety of symptoms with differing levels of discomfort or pain. People who suffer from dry eye may experience one or several of the following symptoms:
- Watery eyes
- Eye redness
- Excessive blinking
- Excessive eye rubbing
The link between fall allergies and dry eyes
Many people find their dry eye symptoms are heightened when the weather starts to cool down. Allergens from pollen and fallen tree leaves irritate our eyes. Activities such as pulling up old flower beds, raking or blowing leaves can expose us to even more irritants. These activities can also send pieces of plant material into your eyes, leading to painful eye infections.
The drier air during autumn also causes irritation and inflammation. When temperatures fall and the heat goes on, the air inside the home becomes drier as well. Remember, dry eye is caused by a lack of tear production. It doesn’t help when the air outside or inside the home is drier than usual.
Tips for safeguarding your eye health during the fall season
Fall is often a difficult time for dry eye sufferers. Thankfully, there are some steps you can take so you can enjoy the crisp air, fall colors, and pumpkin spice drinks outside.
When battling fall allergies and harmful dry air, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your dry eye treatments. Over the counter eye drops and artificial tears can help alleviate symptoms, but they only offer temporary relief.
For best results, visit your eye doctor for professional treatments. Some options include gels and prescription eye drops or plugs inserted in the tear ducts. At Florida Eye Specialists, a newer treatment we offer is LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation. This technique uses warm temperature and gentle massaging to open blocked glands.
It is also vital to follow the overall guidelines for good eye health. That includes eating a proper diet, avoiding smoking, and wearing proper eye protection, especially when out doing yard work.
Get the treatment you need and protect your eyes
When fall allergies threaten to aggravate your dry eye condition, the best thing you can do is be proactive and make an appointment with an eye specialist. Dr. Kimberly Riordan, the head of the Dry Eye Center at Florida Eye Specialists, is prepared to take on your dry eye symptoms. She will provide all care from diagnosis to treatment.
Don’t let your dry eye symptoms keep you from enjoying the beautiful fall months. Request an appointment with us today.