Spring and summer are beautiful warm-weather seasons, inviting people to go out and take advantage of the great outdoors.
This time of year is also filled with allergy triggers that can cause seasonal dry eye symptoms. In fact, a 5-year study showed that roughly 21% of all eyecare visits were dry-eye related. The peak of those visits took place in April every year, leading researchers to correlate an uptick in dry eye issues with the transition to warmer days.
Those with seasonal dry eyes understand how frustrating they can be; but how can they be sure it’s a seasonal problem and not a chronic issue?
Chronic Dry Eyes vs Seasonal Dry Eyes
There are several differentiating factors between chronic dry eye syndrome and seasonal dry eye symptoms.
Chronic Dry Eye Syndrome
Patients with chronic dry eye syndrome struggle to find relief from the pains of dry eyes. There is no off season from symptoms like:
- Scratchy, burning, or stinging eyes
- Teary eyes
- Eye excretion
- Highly sensitive eyes that are affected by the wind, arid climates, or smokey surroundings.
Seasonal triggers may heighten symptoms of chronic dry eyes, but this syndrome doesn’t fade away once those triggers are gone.
Seasonal Dry Eye Symptoms
Some patients only experience the effects of dry eyes in warmer seasons like spring and summer. Symptoms of seasonal dry eyes include:
- Blurry vision
- Itchy, scratchy, burning eyes
- Eyes that feel gritty
- Eyes that are red, sore, and watery
Although the symptoms are rather similar to those of chronic dry eyes, seasonal dry eyes only appear when triggers like pollen and other pollutants are more prominent in the air.
Relieving Seasonal Dry Eyes
There are a few ways a patient can relieve their seasonal dry eyes. Their doctor could prescribe:
These eye droplets are designed to lubricate the eye when natural lubrication isn’t enough or when your eyes aren’t able to produce natural tears. Artificial tears lessen the pain of dry eyes and can stimulate natural tear production.
In more extreme cases, your doctor may suggest punctual plugs, which are very small devices that go into your tear ducts. They are designed to stop your tears from draining out so that the moisture will be forced to lubricate your eyes.
Scleral lenses contain a pool of lubricant that moistens your eyes when the lenses are inserted. Scleral lenses are wide enough to cover most of your eye, but they do not irritate the cornea and are comfortable to wear.