The Difference Between Spring Allergies and Dry Eye Syndrome

Can you tell the difference between spring allergies and dry eye syndrome? These two conditions have very similar symptoms, making it difficult to make the call. Besides, spring is just around the corner, which means your allergy symptoms may pop up if you experience seasonal allergies. It is also likely that you could be experiencing signs of dry eye syndrome.

Still, spring allergies and dry eye syndrome do have some differences. The main symptom that makes dry eye syndrome distinct from spring allergies is itchiness. When you have an allergic reaction to smoke, dust, or pollen, your body will release histamine. Histamine makes your eyes red, itchy, and teary. Additionally, the two conditions have different underlying causes.

Read on to learn more.

Diagnosing Spring Allergies

Spring allergies, also called allergic conjunctivitis, are common during the spring and summer seasons. They happen when your eyes respond to an allergen or irritant.

The symptoms include:

  • Itchiness.

  • Redness.

  • Burning or stinging feeling in the eye.

  • Teary eyes.

  • Light sensitivity.

  • Inflamed eyelids.


For most people, spring allergies come during springtime. If that is the case for you, you could be allergic to tree pollen.

But if you experience allergy symptoms throughout the year, other allergens could be irritating your eyes. Such allergens include dust mites, pet dander, smoke, perfume, fragrances, or mold. Additionally, you are more likely to get eye allergies if you have hay fever or nasal allergies.

Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome happens when your eyes are producing fewer tears or tears that evaporate quickly, leaving your eyes dry.

The symptoms include:

  • Redness and a burning sensation.

  • A gritty sensation or feeling like there is something inside your eye.

  • Moments of excess watery eyes after moments of dryness.

  • Stringy secretion from your eyes.

  • Light sensitivity.


Dry eye syndrome may result from smoking, hormonal changes from using oral contraceptives or during pregnancy, low levels of humidity, and dehydration. Sometimes, spending too much time on your phone or computer, or watching television, can dry out your eyes.

Also, some cases of dry eye syndrome may arise from underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, or thyroid disease.

What to Do

If you are experiencing spring allergies or dry eye syndrome, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis. If you are trying to evaluate yourself at home, you could misdiagnose dry eye syndrome as spring allergy and vice versa.

Talk to your eye doctor about your symptoms. Sometimes, the symptoms could point to other eye problems caused by injury or illness. Your eye doctor will put you on treatment and observe how your condition responds to the treatment.

Remember to avoid rubbing your eyes if you feel like something is inside them. Eye rubbing can lead to scratches, cuts, and bruising.

For more on the difference between spring allergies and dry eye syndrome, visit Primary Eye Care at our office in Tupelo, Mississippi. You can also call (662) 200-9842 to book an appointment today.

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