Are you unsure if you have eye allergies or dry eye syndrome?

Dry eyes and ocular allergies are two of the most commonly experienced eye-related problems today, apart from those that can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses. Yet, despite the differences between the two, it is quite easy to mistake one for the other as the symptoms of each may be similar. What you thought was a simple case of allergies might actually be dry eye syndrome.

So, instead of self-medicating with antihistamine eye drops left over from last allergy season, it might be best to visit a nearby eye clinic in London. A qualified ophthalmologist will conduct a proper diagnosis and prescribe the right treatment.

Allergic Conjunctivitis

Allergic conjunctivitis or eye allergy occurs when a person interacts with usually harmless allergens found in the environment, such as pollen, dust mites, cat dander, etc. When this happens, a substance called histamine is released which then causes itching, swelling and redness. In most cases, this doesn’t require serious medical intervention.

Sometimes, however, ocular allergies are caused by infection due to exposure to bacteria or viruses. Patients may notice symptoms like a watery, discoulored mucus discharge, itchiness, redness, a burning or stinging sensation sensitivity to light and swollen eyelids. Depending on the kind of bacteria, this condition may be spread by direct contact.

Suffering from dry eyes? Take our 2-minute online dry eye assessment to see if we can help alleviate your symptoms and tackle your condition

Take the dry eye self-test

Dry Eye Syndrome

On the other hand, dry eye syndrome results from reduced tear production. This deprives the eyes of important components found in tears—water, lipids and mucin. If there’s too little lipid, the tears either evaporate too quickly or spill over the lid margins. Symptoms associated with this condition are gritty or sandy feeling in the eyes, eye pain, redness, blurry vision, stringy discharge from the eyes, stinging or burning sensation, heavy eyelids, and bouts of excessive watering.

Dry eye commonly occurs in people over the age of 65, but it can also affect younger individuals who have conditions or diseases that affect tear production. They may also be caused or aggravated by taking medications that reduce tear secretion, such as high blood pressure medicines, decongestants, antihistamines, anti-anxiety medicines, pain relievers, and sleeping pills.

Identifying the symptoms of dry eye and allergic conjunctivitis may be challenging, especially since it’s possible for the two conditions to occur simultaneously. Instead of risking making the ailment worse by taking the wrong medications, consult with an eye doctor from reputable institutions such as Eye Clinic London. An experienced ophthalmologist should be able to diagnose your illness and help you manage the symptoms safely.


About the expert

Mr Samer Hamada | Consultant Ophthalmologist and Corneal Surgeon

MD, MSc, DO (hons), FRCSEd, FRCOphth I am Samer Hamada, founder and consultant ophthalmic surgeon with over 20 years’ experience in ophthalmology. I am a world-renowned specialist in cornea, cataract and refractive surgery. I’m not only a leading surgeon but also the only dual fellowship trained in corneal diseases in children from reputable institutions in the UK. At Eye Clinic London I work closely with other consultant ophthalmologists, optometrists and orthoptists to achieve the best outcomes for our patients. Our main aim is to make sure our patients get the safest and best treatments available to them. We put your safety before anything else so you can rest assured that if you choose us you will be in the best and safest hands.

Learn more about me