Dry eyes and seasonal allergies go hand in hand. Unfortunately, when the warmer weather begins, so does our eye dryness, which can really hinder our ability to enjoy the milder temperatures. Allergies are often associated with red and watery eyes, but researchers from the University of Miami have found a link between allergies and dry eyes, too.
Researcher Anat Galor said, “As we reviewed all the data, it became clear that certain seasons had a heightened frequency of dry diagnoses. When we realized winter, and particularly spring, were the worst times of year for dry eye, we immediately began to suspect allergens as the cause.”
The researchers found that South Florida’s weather and higher than average pollen count led to residents of Florida to be at greater risk for dry eyes during allergy season. Kumar concluded, “Due to our subtropical environment, Miami is a breeding ground for allergens. The 16 regions surveyed all showed 3.7 percent higher prevalence of dry eye during peak allergy season. In contrast, Miami was 5.2 percent higher.”
What are dry eyes?
Redness, itchiness, burning, blurry vision, and irritation are best terms to describe dry eyes. Although dry eyes can occur at any time in the year, there seems to be a spike when the seasons start to change. In fact, the month of April sees the peak in dry eye cases. But what do seasons have to do with dry eyes?
Well, when seasons change, especially from winter to spring, depending on how long and how cold the winter was, it can greatly affect the amount of pollen that gets produced.
Trees do not pollinate at the same time, but colder winters delay some types of tree pollination. This causes pollination for different trees occurring all at once.
Causes of dry eyes
Right off the bat, we know that dry eyes can be brought on by the onset of spring. Other dry eye causes include:
- Poor tear quality: Tears are comprised of oil, water, and mucus. If someone has an issue with any of these, it may result in dry eyes.
- Reduced tear production: Many factors may reduce your ability to tear. For starters, age is a factor, as well as eye surgery and a medical condition that affects tears.
- Eyelid problems: Having issues blinking can lead to dry eyes.
- Medication: Some medications may affect your ability to produce enough fluid to keep eyes moist.
- Environment: Wind, air, and intense concentration can lead to dry eyes.
Dry eyes from spring allergies: Symptoms
Now that we understand what can cause dryness in the eyes, these are the symptoms you need to be aware of:
- Blurred vision
- Stinging, burning sensation
- Increase irritation
- Eye fatigue
- Light sensitivity
- Feeling of having something in your eye
- Periods of excessive tearing.
These are all the dry eye symptoms to look out for if you’re concerned that you may have dry eyes.
Natural home remedies to protect dry eyes from spring allergies
Dry eye symptoms can be annoying and interfere with your life. So if you’re looking for a treatment for your dry eyes, look no further. These nine home remedies can help ease your dry eye symptoms:
Apply warm compress: Because dry eyes can occur due to lack of tears, applying a warm compress may unclog your tear glands, allowing the production of tears and relieving dry eyes symptoms.
Clean your eyes: Using a gentle soap – like baby soap – clean your eyes carefully. This can help remove any irritants and keep your eyes feeling hydrated and fresh.
Blink: Our bodies naturally lubricate our eyes through blinking. Make sure you are blinking often, especially when concentrating on a computer screen or sitting in front of a TV. Blinking can also help remove dust and debris from entering your eyes and irritating them.
Wear protective eye gear: Sunglasses are an easy dry eye treatment because they can block the sunlight and the wind – both leading to dry eyes.
Stay hydrated: Because our bodies require water for all major functions, it’s no surprise that drinking enough water is a dry eye treatment. In particular, on hotter days, make sure you’re getting adequate hydration, and if you find water boring, add in fruits and vegetables with high water content.
Check with a doctor about medication: If medication is the culprit to your dry eyes, then check with your doctor to see if there is an alternative treatment available.
Apply cucumbers: Because of their water content, placing cucumbers on the eyes can keep them moist and lubricated – an effective dry eyes home remedy indeed.
Reduce coffee consumption: Coffee can worsen your dry eye condition, so cutting back on your coffee intake may help relieve dry eyes symptoms.
Stop smoking: Smoking or being around smoke can make dry eyes symptoms worse. If you’re a smoker, make plans to quit and if you find yourself in environments of smoke, try to avoid them.
Reducing dry eyes for better vision
If this season so far you’ve been noticing dryer, itchier, redder eyes, you probably are suffering from dry eyes related to allergies. Getting your allergies checked is a good step to establish effective dry eyes treatment. By knowing what you’re allergic to, you can better prepare for the change of season and prevent dry eyes as best as possible.
Dry eyes can hinder your ability to enjoy being outdoors and doing the things you love, so by practicing these nine dry eye home remedies, you can have better success tackling your dry eye symptoms. Better yet, you won’t dread the spring, and you can go back to making the most of the warmer weather.