Can Eye Allergies Cause Dry Eye?

Can Eye Allergies Cause Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a common condition affecting approximately five million people in the U.S. There are numerous causes of dry eye including allergens and irritants like pollen, smoke, and others. Itchy and dry eyes can be a result of allergies. On the other hand, medications that treat allergies can cause dry eyes too.


Symptoms of Dry Eye


Some symptoms are especially associated with dry eyes caused by allergies. Here are some:

  • You will experience redness around or inside your eyes.

  • Experiencing a burning sensation around the eyes.

  • Constant itchiness.

  • Your eyes may release a watery discharge.

  • You may have a constant feeling that something is sticking in your eye.

  • You may experience sensitivity to light and blurred vision.

  • Depending on the allergy, you may experience a sore throat or a runny nose.


Common Eye Allergies That Cause Dry Eye


Various types of allergic diseases can cause dry eyes. Some of them include:


Seasonal or Perennial Allergic Conjunctivitis


This happens when you experience environmental allergies. This can be in the form of heavy winds and smoke among others. If this is the case, you will experience various symptoms such as redness, watery discharge, burning, and itchiness.

Giant Papillary and Contact Allergic Conjunctivitis


This happens when your eye contacts a foreign object like a contact lens directly. When this occurs, you may experience itchiness, redness, watery (mucus) discharge or discomfort from wearing the contact lenses.

A more severe form of this allergy is known as giant papillary conjunctivitis. While it includes the abovementioned symptoms, you may also experience blurry vision, puffiness, and feeling like something is sticking in your eyes.

Atopic and Vernal Keratoconjunctivitis


Atopic and vernal Keratoconjunctivitis are more advanced forms of eye allergies. They mostly affect males with asthma or eczema, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI).

Although they both have similar symptoms, the atopic type affects older men who have a history of atopic dermatitis. Some of the symptoms include itchiness, feeling like something is sticking in the eyes, sensitivity to light, and severe discharge from the eyes.




Although there are many causes of dry eyes such as response to surgery, medical conditions, or using contact lenses for long periods, there are triggers that cause dry eyes due to irritants and allergies. Some triggers of this nature include perfume, cigarette smoke, pet dander, dust mites, mold, pollen, diesel exhaust, and many more.


How to Avoid and Treat Dry Eye


One of the most effective ways to manage your dry eye is by controlling your environment. You can also use prescription and over-the-counter medications to treat this condition. According to the ACAAI, you can manage environmental allergic triggers by using a humidifier, washing your hands, avoiding contact lenses and using glasses instead, staying indoors during high pollen season, and using mite-proof furniture, just to name a few.

Since there are many causes of dry eye, it is advisable to seek medical help especially if you experience persistent dry eye. If the symptoms do not get any better, let the doctor make a qualified diagnosis and an appropriate solution. The doctor will check various aspects such as tear production and how your eyes respond to light among other checks.

To know more about eye allergies, visit Trinity Vision Center at our office in Walla Walla, Washington. You can also call (509) 260-3500 to book an appointment today.