Dry Eye and Allergies
If you’re experiencing dry or itchy eyes, you may be wondering whether you have allergies or dry eye syndrome. While these two conditions share some similarities, eye allergies have different underlying causes from dry eye. However, it’s also possible for eye allergies to lead to dry eye syndrome. Common confusion occurs when eyes are red, itchy, burning, and sometimes, watery eyes. In some cases, the eye can experience severe symptoms that cause the eyelids to swell. It’s important to see a dry eye doctor to properly diagnose and treat the dry eye or eye allergy. Our Doctors are able to look at the conditions surrounding the eye and can provide you with the proper treatments that can help to reduce symptoms and prevent further complications. It is important to seek out treatment when eye allergies or dry eye begin, as they can threaten your eyesight. While it may begin as blurry vision, an infection can set in and there is a potential for permanent vision loss and damage. We can begin treatment as soon as you see us to help reduce your risk of vision loss and recommend at-home treatments that can be combined with any therapy prescribed in our office.
Dry eye is one of the most common and frustrating ocular conditions and is often confused with eye allergies. “In epidemiological studies performed globally, the prevalence of dry eye ranges from 5 to 50 percent. Based on data from the National Health and Wellness Survey, 6.8 percent of the United States adult population (approximately 16.4 million people) have been diagnosed with dry eye disease. The prevalence increased with age (2.7 percent in those 18 to 34 years old versus 18.6 percent in those ≥75 years old) and was higher in women than men (8.8 versus 4.5 percent). ”
Dry eye is a disease of the ocular surface that results in eye discomfort, a poor quality tear layer, and can cause potential damage to the cornea and ocular surface. There are two types of dry eye: Aqueous Deficient (lack of tear production) and Evaporative Dry Eye (low quality of tears). Unfortunately, some will just treat the “dry eye” but will never do a proper examination to determine the type of dry eye – Evaporative or Aqueous Deficient., and just taking eye drops is not the answer… Once there is a diagnosis proper dry eye treatment can begin.
The technical term for eye allergies is allergic conjunctivitis, which is when the eyes respond to an irritant. This allergic reaction can cause inflammation of the conjunctiva, the tissues that cover the inside of the eyelid, as well as the sclera – the white part of the eye. To counteract the allergy the eye produces histamine, and as a result, can cause the eyes to feel itchy, have a burning sensation, watery eyes, red eyes, and even swollen lids. Unlike a bacterial infection, it does not spread to others. While often temporary eye allergies can sometimes last long periods of time. Common environmental triggers include dust, high pollen, smoke, perfumes, pet allergies, mold, and some foods.
Seasonal Allergies: Seasonal allergies usually occur during the spring and summer months, and sometimes during the fall. Exposure to pollen, grass, and other airborne allergens causes seasonal allergic conjunctivitis.
Perennial Allergies: They persist throughout the year, and are generally triggered by indoor allergens such as animal dander, dust, and mold spores.
Common Eye Allergy Symptoms
- Red Eyes
- Itchy Eyes
- Mucus Discharge
- Watery Eyes
- Dry Eyes
- Light Sensitivity
- Swollen Lids
Eye Allergy Diagnosis
At the Dry Eye Center of Maryland, we will provide a thorough evaluation to confirm the diagnosis of eye allergies or dry eye disease. Our evaluation includes a slit lamp (microscope) exam looking for signs of eye allergies, like swollen blood vessels, lid inflammation, and dry spots on the cornea to determine the underlying issue.
Common Eye Allergy Treatments
- Artificial tears
- Decongestants (with or without antihistamines)
- Oral antihistamines
- Antihistamine/mast-cell stabilizers
- Steroid eyedrops
With a proper diagnosis, we customize a treatment plan to alleviate the symptoms of the eye allergy. A simple response to any allergy is to avoid or limit contact with the substance causing the problem. But unfortunately, it’s not always known.
“From the moment an individual walks into the office, The Dry Eye Center of Maryland demonstrates that they are geared to serve. The receptionists greet patients with a smile, ask about their families, and offer something to drink. The waiting time is never long, but if it is, there are plenty of current magazines with which to entertain oneself. When one does go back, the General Vision Examstechnicians treat clients with respect and explain each step of the tests. Finally, once patients see the doctors–who are professional in every definition of the word–they are again greeted warmly and treated with respect. The entire experience is life changing, and I wouldn’t go anywhere else. ”
“Thank you for your help in getting me fitted with and adjusted to contact lenses. Apparently my “dry eye” condition has made it difficult and at times impossible for me to wear contacts in the past. Now with your help I am comfortable in my contacts. As you may remember, I am a high school senior and have tried to wear contacts in the past, not only for esthetic reasons but to help me in various sports/activities (football, lacrosse, surfing, etc.). In the past I am not sure that the eye care people I saw recognized or appreciated my “dry eye” condition. Moreover, they clearly did not address this problem. As such, I remember having great difficulty getting my contacts in and even more difficulty in trying to remove them. In the past, I was never comfortable wearing contacts. Your work with my tear ducts and other techniques you have used to correct my “dry eye” condition has made an incredible difference. The process that we have gone through to prepare me for contact lenses has made a tremendous difference. Now I am exceedingly comfortable wearing my contacts and find that they provide me with much improved vision. Again, many thanks for your help. Very truly yours.”
“I have been wearing contact lens for 55 years. When I moved from out-of-state to Maryland, I needed to find a new contact lens specialist. I found Dr. Azman using a Google search. I was surprised to get a phone call asking me questions before getting an appointment. It turns out Dr. Azman specializes in problem cases. As I described my increasing discomfort and dry eyes, he said he could help. I never had the tests he did for tear layer, the topography of cornea, etc. I discovered my contacts were not fitting properly causing an abrasion on both eyes. After two weeks of no contacts, the abrasion was healed. I was surprised when he suggested soft contacts. My previous doctor thought I couldn’t wear them after years with hard and then gas permeable lens. Switching to the soft lens was no problem. It took some adjusting of different strengths of the lens to get the correction for reading and computer work, but now I am very happy with the results. I could not drive at night with contacts because of the extreme glare. That is gone. My eyes were very sensitive to light so I needed sunglasses all the time. That is gone.”
“OMG….where do I begin. First and foremost, Dr. Azman saved my daughter’s eyesight, not once, but twice! At the age of 6 my daughter’s Rx was dramatically changing every 6 months (unheard of) and she was getting headaches and couldn’t read for more than 15 minutes at a time. No one could figure out what was wrong. One visit to Dr. Azman and we were on our way to healthy eyes!!! All it took was a few quick tests and Dr. Azman had my daughter diagnosed with dry eyes. Life was good for many years until we moved to PA and lost contact with Dr. Azman (never again!) Recently I received a distressed call from my daughter, now age 20, with problems with her eyes. She had crystals forming and pushing through her eyes, infections in her eyes, she couldn’t go out in the sunlight, etc. and FOUR different specialists in PA kept giving her steroids and antibiotics with the explanation of “we don’t know what causes it”…I even told them about her dry eyes and was blatantly told I didn’t know what I was talking about. !!!???!!! Dr. Azman to the rescue AGAIN! Within two visits my daughters eyes cleared up and well on their way to healing. She’s back to normal with her nose stuck in a book every evening after sitting in front of a computer all day @ work even! Dr. Azman is simply amazing. He met with us in the late evening hours since we are out of town and even on a HOLIDAY!!! I wish more people could be as caring and giving as Dr. Thomas Azman. We refer him every chance we can! We will never be able to thank you enough.”
“I have been under Dr. Azman’s treatment for my dry eyes. He is very attentive and thorough – always giving detailed explanations and answering all my questions in a way that I am able to fully understand. Dr. Azman also contacts me if there is a new treatment or medication that he feels would improve my condition. I will admit that sometimes there is an extensive wait in the office, but I can only assume he is giving other patients the same detailed care that he is giving me! The Azman staff is very gracious and lovely – always greeting me with a smile and genuinely asking how I am. The office itself is very clean and the communication between the different areas seems to flow smoothly. I highly recommend Dr. Azman due to his attention to detail and his expertise!”
“I have tried contact lenses on four different occasions, without success, before I visited Dr. Azman. Although other doctors had told me I had dry eyes, their solution was to simply prescribe a different brand of contact lens rather than to address the underlying problem. On each occasion, the end result was that the lenses bothered me so much that I just stopped wearing them. Dr. Azman’s commitment to correcting the dryness in my eyes was a refreshing and effective approach to my vision issues. For the first time, I feel that contact lenses will actually be a viable choice for me. It’s fantastic.”
“Dr Azman has been my eye doctor for more than 25 years. Recently he has treated my eyes for dry eyes. He is very thorough and extremely knowledgeable about treating dry eyes. I didn’t know how bad my eyes felt until he treated them. Even though I wear contacts, my vision was slightly impaired due to dry eyes. Once Dr. Azman started treatment, my eyes felt so much better and my vision changed again due to improvement of moisture in the eye. I put my trust in Dr. Azman.”
“I have been under Dr. Azman’s care for the treatment of dry eyes. He is very attentive and thorough – always giving detailed explanations and answering all my questions in a way that I am able to fully understand. Dr. Azman also contacts me if there is a new treatment or medication that he feels would improve my condition. I will admit that sometimes there is an extensive wait in the office, but I can only assume he is giving other patients the same detailed care that he is giving me! The Azman staff is very gracious and lovely – always greeting me with a smile and genuinely asking how I am. The office itself is very clean and the communication between the different areas seems to flow smoothly. I highly recommend Dr. Azman due to his attention to detail and his expertise! He is a truly an expert in dry eye treatment.”
“I have been dealing with severe dry eyes for years. Have been to a dozen of eye doctors with no success. All the eye doctors kept telling me the same things over and over again. I was about to give up until I read all the good reviews about Dr. Azman and his team, so I decided to give him a try. All I can say is I’m glad I did. I have nothing but great things to say about him and his staff. Very helpful and very friendly. My dry eyes have nearly been treated after years of pain! I can’t thank him enough for what he did for me. After each treatment he would follow up and call me to see how I was doing. No other doctor has ever called me to follow up. I was never rushed and he answered all my questions. I would highly recommend Dr. Azman and his team. I can honestly say he exceeded all my expectations. Thank you Dr. Azman for all your help!”
“I was told I could not wear contact lenses by 3 other eye doctors due to my dry eyes. You did concur that I had dry eyes, but you introduced me to Orthokeratology. You explained your Precision Accelerated technique to me. Even though I was a little skeptical about it ,because I never heard of it, I decided to trust you. I also looked into lasik and was told I could have it. After researching lasik and dry eyes I learned that if you have dry eyes you should not have lasik surgery. It has now been 2 years since going through your procedure and I am still experiencing comfortable, clear vision all waking hours. Thank you Dr. Azman for guiding and educating me and protecting my eyes from having Lasik which could of been a disaster. You have changed my life.”
“I want to express my appreciation for helping me. I came to your office with a problem that I could not identify. However, I did recognize that my eyes were chronically tired and red, and I had to wear my glasses all of the time. Today, I am experiencing a high level of comfort and I feel as if my eyesight has improved. When I arrived for my first appointment, Joanne met with me to acquaint me with your practice and to administer preliminary tests. She was very informative and reassuring. Next, I met with you and again I was reassured that it would be possible to correct the difficulties I was experiencing. You carefully and clearly explained the results of the preliminary evaluation and then conducted your own. I had worn contact lenses prior to coming to you. It was a disaster. I was prescribed a more generic lens and along with the dry eye problem, the lenses were never really correct. I was not able to read with the lenses and my distance vision was poor as well. Eventually I gave up, as these lenses were apparently the only option available to me. My experience at the Azman Dry Eye center was completely different. Dr. Azman devised a plan of attack. Which eventually led to success with contact lenses. Other eye centers did not address any specific problems; they only evaluated my eyesight and wrote prescriptions for glasses or generic contact lenses. I also want to say that the level of caring that is shown to patients from the front desk to the doctor himself, is above any I have experienced elsewhere. It is a pleasure to come to the office. I will continue to recommend the practice and Dr. Azman to my friends and family. Thank you for all your help.”
Dr. Azman was able to stop the pain from a dry eye condition by using this new technology called Prokera and other treatments. Highly recommended!
I have been suffering for two years with dry eye pain and worry. From the time I walked in the door the experience was great. The staff was so kind and made me feel so welcome. Doctor Azman was patient and kind and took so much time with me and diagnosing my issues. I actually got in the car and cried tears of joy after the visit feeling hope for the first time. Best feeling I have felt in years, a big thank you to him and the staff!
Dr. Azman is wonderful! He is very thorough and makes sure that his patients understand everything in terms of their eye care. The office staff is friendly and very helpful. I highly recommend Dr. Azman and Azman Eye Care Specialists.
If you are experiencing issues or problems with dry eyes, this is the place to be. Very thorough service with a caring and compassionate doctor and team.
The Azman practice gives their clients customized service. As a client I feel like I am practice’s one and only client. Also, the technology and knowledge of optical research they utilize is second to none!
I Love Dr Azman! He is very gentle, caring and professional! I wouldn’t want to see any other eye Dr in the world!!!
I have been suffering with eyes pain and inflammation around 5 months ago after I visited many specialists and the problem continued….finally I saw Dr. Benjamin Azman, he diagnostic me DRY EYE and gave me the right treatment. I feel much better thanks God! Dr.Benjamin and his father are so kind. God Bless them! I recommend Dr. Azman. They’re great.
Of the handful of doctors and offices I have visited with regard to my dry-eye issue, Dr. Azman and his group have been, by a long-shot, the most hospitable, empathetic, and helpful with my issue. Dr. Azman didn’t rush me through the process of diagnosis, like other offices. He took the time to sit with me and discuss some of the root causes of my issue, and answer any of my concerns. In subsequent follow-up appointments, he performed several procedures that have been helpful to me and that have given me hope that there is a way to manage this condition. I would recommend him to anyone. And if you are using eyedrops frequently, and have never had your issue seriously looked at, please get it checked out before you do more damage to your eyes.
Hope for dry eyes! Dr. Azman was able to stop the pain from a dry eye condition by using this new technology called Prokera and other treatments. Highly recommended!
I have been suffering for two years with dry eye pain and worry. From the time I walked in the door the experience was great. The staff was so kind and made me feel so welcome. Doctor Azman was patient and kind and took so much time with me and diagnosed my issues. I actually got in the car and cried tears of joy after the visit feeling hope for the first time. Best feeling I have felt in years, a big thank you to him and the staff!