As fall approaches many people in the Pacific Northwest will have to deal with seasonal allergies that can cause runny noses, congestion and even dry eye. The allergic reactions people face can have a significant negative impact upon their daily lives.
The majority of dry eye cases tend to occur in the spring and fall time. In spring, microscopic allergens get into the air which cause your eyes to be itchy and watery. In the fall, low humidity (sometimes cause by indoor heating) can dry out your eyes and cause issues.
If you suffer from dry eye, chances are you’ll probably notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- Eye burning/stinging
- Eye pain/redness
- Blurry vision
- Stringy discharge from eyes
- Gritty feeling (feels like something is in your eye).
Dry Eye Cases in the United States
Dry eye is a pretty common condition. It affects around 1 in 5 women and 1 in 10 men in the United States. It costs the U.S. Healthcare system almost $4 billion dollars annually. People over the age of 50 tend to suffer from it more than any other age group.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, a study was performed on people who visited Veterans Affairs eye clinics over a five-year period. This study found that 21% of people were diagnosed with dry eye in the spring, and another 18.5% in the fall. This showed a direct correlation between dry eye and seasonal allergies.
Common Causes of Dry Eye
While allergies are the most common cause of dry eye, there are many other things that can cause it.
- Medication side effects
- Wearing of contact lenses for too long
- Hormone replacement therapy for women
- Post laser vision correction surgery
These other causes can affect your eyes at any time of the year, not just spring and fall. You’ll notice the same irritating itchiness and dryness that would normally be associated with (and sometimes confused for) seasonal allergies.
Watery Eyes Can Be Dry
If you have over watery eyes, it might be a sign of dry eye. When dry eye syndrome occurs, it produces poor quality tears. These tears have a decreased water content. As such, the tears in your eyes will evaporate more quickly than usual. This will cause your body to over-react and produce a literal flood of tears (to make up for the evaporated ones). You might not notice the over-watery eyes at first, but you will notice when tears start flowing down the side of your face seemingly out of nowhere.
Treatment of Dry Eye in Seattle
If you’re suffering from dry eye in the Burien or Seattle area, the good news is that it can be easily treated. Depending on the cause of your condition, your Clearview eye care doctor might recommend over-the-counter medication or even a change in your environment or lifestyle.
At Clearview Eye & Laser, we specialize in helping people who suffer from dry eye. Give us a call to make an appointment and one of our Seattle eye care doctors will help you alleviate the irritating symptoms that dry eye and the fall time can cause.