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Dry eye and ocular allergies are both very common in a large number of people. It is crucial to distinguish and know the difference between the two and not just assume your itchy, burning eyes are allergies or vice versa.

Dry eye sufferers do not produce a sufficient amount of tears to keep their eyes comfortable. Symptoms can resemble those of allergies, but the treatment of the two are different. In fact, treatment for allergies may cause dry eyes to worsen.

Here’s what to look for and how to distinguish the difference:

Dry Eye Syndrome

  • Gritty feeling (feeling like something is in your eye)
  • Eye stinging or burning
  • Stringy discharge from the eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Heavy-feeling eyelids
  • Eye pain and redness
  • Blurry vision

Eye Allergies

  • Itchy eyes
  • Eye stinging or burning
  • Watery discharge from the eyes and runny nose
  • Eye redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Swollen eyelids

Surprisingly, both allergies and dry eye syndrome can cause watery eyes at time. Guidelines like this, can be helpful in telling conditions apart, however it is always best to consult an eye doctor and make sure you get the right diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

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