Hay Fever Season: How to Fight Dry Eye When You Step Outside
Hay Fever, dry eye disease, or something else entirely?
Are dry eyes ruining your morning run? Do you struggle on your commute? Scared to wear makeup now for fear of it streaming down your face by the time you step into the office? Don’t worry, you’re not alone – and this doesn’t need to be a constant battle.
Dry Eye or hay fever?
Often, people find that dry eyes are worse in the morning or before they go to bed. The first step to tackling your health problems is to work out its root cause. It could be dry eye disease causing your troubles, or it could be hay fever and allergy symptoms.
Hay fever and seasonal allergies affect everyone in different ways. When hay fever season starts up (usually late March to September) you’ll see the symptoms worsening. From sneezing fits, to a runny nose and dry itchy eyes, hay fever is caused by an allergy to pollen which is a common pollutant in the air. There is no current cure for hay fever, but you can take a medication called antihistamines to lessen its effect. 
Some people do experience hay fever in the winter. This can be due to a number of reasons like living in a warmer climate where plants may not go dormant and therefore release pollen all year long. If you suffer from Allergic Rhinitis (which pollen is the most common cause of) you can also experience similar hay fever symptoms due to mould, pet dander, and even dust mites – all of which may feel worse due to being indoors more! Often people will mistake this for a common cold, but if you’re feeling itchy, think hay fever. If you’re feeling achy, think cold.
It can be really tricky to work out if your symptoms are caused by dry eye disease or hay fever, but there are some key distinctions. If your dry eye symptoms improve in autumn and winter, it’s likely caused by a pollen allergy, rather than dry eye disease. Additionally, if you’ve also experienced cold-like symptoms such as a dry throat and runny nose, and you’re not experiencing a sensitivity to light or a gritty feeling in your eyes, it’s more likely to be hay fever and allergy symptoms. 
Other conditions that could be causing your dry eye
If your dry eye symptoms hit before you’ve even had a chance to take a step out of the door though, then it’s time to consider other possible causes. Nocturnal Lagophthalmos can make it difficult to close your eye completely at night, leading to air exposure which worsens dry eye symptoms in the morning.  This condition has to be treated properly or it can lead to impaired vision. 
Another possible explanation for painful, inflamed eyes in the morning is Blepharitis which is an inflammation along the edges of the eyelid. You may find your eyelids are crusty and itchy when you wake up, and you can even have issues opening your eyes. 
Other possible explanations for your dry eyes in the mornings
You may even find that certain medications that you take at bedtime can cause dry eye symptoms in the morning. Even antihistamines that you may take to lessen the symptoms of hay fever during the day can cause eyes to feel dry in the morning. 
Sleeping with air conditioning and heating units can also affect the way your eyes feel and your dry eye symptoms in the morning, as can your environment.  This can be a simple fix that will go a long way to improving your life.
Many factors can cause dry, itchy, and even sore eyes when you wake up. Hormonal fluctuations and age can also contribute, so if you’ve noticed that you’re tearing up in the mornings more often as you approach your 60s, you’re not alone and you don’t need to worry.
Luckily, many of the treatments for dry eye syndrome can soothe these symptoms and leave you feeling ready to start your day.
Treating Dry Eye in the mornings
If your symptoms most closely match dry eye and they worsen in the mornings then there are ways you can take action and treat it. Create a morning and evening routine that will help rather than harm. The hot air from hair dryers can worsen eye dryness so towel dry your hair instead. Use eye drops before bed to moisten your eyes. You can even wash your eyelids and use a warm compress if you’re looking to soothe chronic dry eye symptoms. 
Whether it’s hay fever and seasonal allergies, or dry eye disease, eye drops can definitely help you feel a little brighter and soothe painful, itchy eyes. VisuXL® Gel eye drops can lubricate your eyes for up to twelve hours using a thicker moisture barrier. Use them day and night!
The best way to fight dry eyes when you step outside is good preparation. That includes working out what’s causing your irritation so you best know how to tackle it. To fight dry eyes in the morning a great routine for the morning and night will help relieve symptoms, as well as to make sure you’re supporting your overall eye health. Follow these tips for the hay fever season and beyond to feel ready to take on the day without dry eye disease bringing you down.
We hope this article has answered your Dry Eye questions. However, if not please reach out to us on our socials, join our community on Facebook and Instagram, and discover more advice to help your eyes.
- NHS Inform, “Hay fever.”, Last Accessed November 2023.
- NI Direct, “Hay fever”, Last Accessed November 2023.
- Lazarus, Russel. “Why is Dry Eye Worse in the Mornings?” Optometrists.org, Last Accessed November 2023.
- Eye Clinic London, “Waking Up With Dry Eyes: Causes & Treatment.”, Last Accessed November 2023.
- Mayo Clinic, “Blepharitis – Symptoms & Causes.”, Last Accessed November 2023.
- Professional Vision | Ellicott City Eye Doctors, Eye Exam, Eyewear, “Why Are My Eyes Dry in the Morning?”, Last Accessed November 2023.
- A. Vogel, “3 Reasons you have Dry Eyes in the Morning.” Last Accessed November 2023.
- Griff, Ann Marie, “9 Tips for Your Daily Routine with Chronic Dry Eye”, Healthline, Last Accessed November 2023.
- Wang, Michael TM. “10 Tips to Ease Dry Eye at Night.” Dry Eye And Me, Last Accessed 6 November 2023.