Allergies and Dry Eye

Last updated: August 2022

Editor's Note: This article originally was written by Amanda Gaskell and shared by our partner site ChronicDryEye.net.

When I was first diagnosed with dry eye, my doctor mentioned she saw an allergy component with my diagnosis. I did have some eye itching and redness, but it wasn't too bad, or so I thought. Some of the tests that she conducted on my eyes were able to tell her that I was indeed struggling with eye allergies.

The effect of allergies on my eyes

I remember one test that involved using a Q-tip to flip my eyelid inside out. That was scary to me, but you could tell she had a technique, and it was painless. She described the inside of my eyelid as looking like a cobblestone street. I thought that was an interesting description. She started me on a prescription allergy eye drop called Zerviate.

For a few months, I tried an over-the-counter eye drop medication, but that did not do enough for the allergy, and I needed something stronger. I was surprised because I did not know allergies could affect my eyes so much. I was taking an over-the-counter oral antihistamine, but my eye doctor quickly told me that was drying my eyes out even further, if that was even possible, I felt.

She mentioned that allergy testing might be a good option to try because that way, I had more of an idea of what was making them worse and what to avoid.

Undergoing allergy testing

I made an appointment with an allergist and had allergy testing. It wasn’t too bad; they poked my forearms with the actual allergens and measured my reactions with a small tape measure. I believe they tested for 15 different allergens, mainly environmental. My results were almost instant, and I was able to see what I had reacted to.

I felt this was beneficial for a few reasons. One of those reasons was I was able to be aware of what might trigger my allergies more and how to avoid them, especially on a windy day.

Second, it helped my dry eye specialist because she was able to tailor my eye care to the different seasons and proactively treat me before I went into a full-on flare. Where I live, we experience all four seasons. Some seasons are worse than others, and so are my eyes. It has really helped me stay on top of my care before my eyes get too bad.

Testing could be beneficial

If you are struggling with eye allergies, bring it up to your eye care professional and see if your doctor thinks allergy testing would be beneficial for you as well.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Allergies.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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