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The Link Between Dry Eye and Allergies: When to See an Eye Specialist

The Link Between Dry Eye and Allergies: When to See an Eye Specialist

If you have dry eye, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans experience eye dryness, including some 5 million people over 50, according to the National Eye Institute. It occurs when your eye or eyes don’t produce the tears needed to contribute to normal eye function. 

Dry eye can have many causes, one of which is allergies. When allergies cause dry eye, managing and treating them usually helps reduce your dry eye symptoms.

At Advanced Laser & Eye Center of Arizona, home of, our eye care specialists have wide experience treating the various causes of dry eye, including allergies. We also have an allergy expert on staff to facilitate allergy diagnosis, testing, and treatment.

Here, we provide some important insights into dry eye, including the link between dry eye and allergies, as well as guidance about when you might benefit from seeing an eye specialist for your dry eye.

Why your eyes become dry

Eye dryness happens when your tear glands don’t make the right amount or right quality of tears. In addition to keeping eyes moist, tears wash away bacteria, dust, and other impurities that threaten eye health. Tears also deliver important nutrients and other compounds that your eyes need to function well.

Some common causes of dry eye include:

As you get older, you’re more likely to develop dry eye. Also, environmental factors — such as dry climate, high winds, or pollutants in the air — contribute to dry eyes.

Impact of allergies on your eyes

Various types of allergens can affect the eyes, causing dry eye, runny eyes, burning, blurry vision, and other eye symptoms. In addition to dryness, allergy-induced dry eye may cause a feeling of grittiness, itchiness, and redness in your eyes.

If you have dry eye due to allergies, your eye care specialist works with you to identify your allergens and take steps to avoid them. You may be referred to our allergy specialist, Thomas Willim PA-C, for allergy testing and treatment.

When to see an eye specialist

It is important to have any case of dry eye evaluated by an eye specialist, whether you suspect allergies or not. Having dry eye, even if it doesn’t bother you very much, can potentially cause damage to your cornea, which is the transparent surface of your eye.

Over time, the minor irritation of dry eye can lead to more serious pain and discomfort, as well as the development of ulcers on your cornea.

Don’t wait to have your dry eye evaluated. To schedule an appointment with our skilled providers, call Advanced Laser & Eye Center of Arizona at the office nearest you, or book an appointment online.

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