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Mar 22, 2022

Seasonal allergies: Common trigger for dry eye flares

by: Dagny Zhu, MD

Short-term steroid use can alleviate patient discomfort.

Many patients have allergy-induced dry eye flares during the spring and summer when pollen, the biggest inciting factor, is being dispersed by blooming flowers and trees.

In patients with dry eye disease (DED), seasonal allergies are likely to trigger an exacerbation or flare of their DED symptoms. These patients will often complain of runny or teary eyes, redness, itchiness, burning, a gritty sensation, as well as symptoms that affect the adjacent regions such as sinus tenderness and a stuffy, runny nose.

In my clinical experience, most have these allergy-induced dry eye flares during the spring and summer when pollen, the biggest inciting factor, is being dispersed by blooming flowers and trees. A complicating element is that patients often take oral antihistamines to treat their ocular symptoms which can lead to excessive drying and in turn, a worsening of underlying DED.

A dry eye flare is defined as an acute episode of worsening symptoms where inflammation has disrupted the homeostatic balance within the tear film. This acute worsening of symptoms can last from a few days to a couple of weeks. Most commonly, a dry eye flare is caused by a trigger that activates a pro-inflammatory cascade on the ocular surface.1-4

Along with seasonal allergies, other triggers include perennial allergies such as pet dander, dust, and mold; excessive screen time; contact lens overwear; and vented air from heat or air conditioning.5-13

DED is a multifactorial condition with the two main pathways being a decrease of healthy tear production or increased tear evaporation from the ocular surface.1-4 If any one of a number of instigating factors is collectively added, there can be a heightened inflammatory response on the ocular surface which can affect both of the DED pathways leading to the exacerbation of DED.1-4

Read more: https://www.ophthalmologytimes.com/view/seasonal-allergies-common-trigger-for-dry-eye-flares?utm_source=sfmc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=03222022_OT_ALC-22-OPD0420_ENL_Alcon%20TRC%20-%20US&eKey=ZG9ubmFAbWFjdWxhcmhvcGUub3Jn

Source: Ophthalmology Times

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