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Home » Eye Care Services » Dry Eye » What Causes Dry Eye? » Dry Eye or Allergies?

Dry Eye or Allergies?

Our Edmonton dry eye specialist will figure out what’s irritating your eyes

dry eye treatment by Edmonton Alberta optometrist

The symptoms are obvious – your eyes itch, burn, look bloodshot and swollen. But the cause of your irritation isn’t always so clear. Are you suffering from eye allergies or dry eye syndrome? Although these conditions share many of the same signs, the root of each problem is very different. A complete eye exam from your Edmonton eye doctor is the most dependable way to diagnose your dry eye and treat it for lasting relief. Dr. Bruce Butts will use advanced diagnostics to get to the root of your problem – and confirm whether you have dry eye or eye allergies to blame!

Dry eye explained

What causes dry eye, and how is it treated? Tears are made up of three layers: lipids, water, and mucin. When this composition is out of balance, dry eye occurs. Most of the time, dry eye is due to insufficient fatty lipids, which are necessary for slowing the evaporation rate of your tears.

As your tears evaporate too quickly, you are left with red, burning eyes. Some people sense a feeling like grit is stuck under their eyelids, while others experience watery eyes (reflex tearing).

Personalized dry eye treatment in Edmonton

Depending on the cause of your dry eye, our eye doctor will recommend the following treatments:

  • Lubricating eye drops or ointments. A variety of nonprescription drugs are available, and it is best to check with our Edmonton dry eye specialist to find out which type is right for you
  • Treatment for clogged Meibomian glands, which are responsible for the natural manufacture of lipids, such as LipiFLow.
  • Nutritional supplements that contain omega-3 fatty acids
  • Punctal plugs to block tear drainage and help disperse your tears more efficiently over the eye surface
  • Restasis or Xiidra eye drops
  • Amniotic membrane treatment

All about eye allergies

The usual giveaway symptom that points to eye allergies is itchiness, and this annoying symptom may appear along with redness and inflammation if your eye allergies are more severe. When you have eye allergies, your immune system perceives that allergens (such as pollen and pet dander) are threatening your health, and it goes into attack mode. Histamine is released, which leads to the nasty symptoms of eye allergies.

Dr. Bruce Butts treats many Edmonton patients who suffer from eye allergies. Our most helpful advice is – Don’t rub your eyes! Eye rubbing spreads the allergens and exacerbates your symptoms.

Common treatments for eye allergies include:

  • Antihistamine/mast cell stabilizer eye drops, which prevent the release of histamine
  • Avoidance of contact with the troublesome allergen, whenever possible
  • Cool compresses held gently against your eyes
  • Artificial lubricants – ask our Edmonton optometrist which is the best over-the-counter medication for your condition

A detailed eye exam at Calgary Trail Vision Centre will diagnose your condition as eye allergies or dry eye.

Dry eye & eye allergies can strike together

These two painful conditions often occur simultaneously and play off each other. Unfortunately, the lack of a healthy tear film will worsen your eye allergy symptoms. That’s because tears dilute and flush allergens out of your eyes. What can you do? Apply moisturizing eye drops to alleviate the discomfort caused by eye allergies and dry eye.

Visit our Edmonton dry eye clinic for relief

If you suffer from burning, stinging, swollen eyes or eyelids, redness, pink eye, itchiness, or any other painful eye irritation, contact Dr. Bruce Butts to book an urgent eye exam.
Call 587-410-3514

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