Autumn, Dry Eye, and Allergies

Thursday, September 26, 2019


Autumn is a popular albeit confusing season for Georgia. We all want to grab our morning Pumpkin- Spice Lattes and snuggle our feet into warm boots as the leaves begin to change. Nonetheless, the Fall weather doesn’t always cooperate, and sometimes it feels like Georgia mid-summer in mid-September and October (LOL). One thing is for sure though: along with the crisper air and scents of wood burning on the wind, Fall brings a resurfacing of allergy season and eye irritation for many Georgians.

Blooming in August and September, ragweed is a major allergen, causing runny and sneezy noses, and itchy throats and eyes. Just one ragweed plant can release about a billion pollen grains into the environment, causing significant seasonal allergies and spreading the growth of the plant. Mold is another common allergen wreaking havoc on our eyes and respiratory systems in the fall, as it thrives in the dark, damp environments of leaf piles and forests where other summer plants are decomposing. While allergens do not always cause serious problems, they can be seriously annoying to our eyes when they induce burning, itching, and redness.

Autumn can also be a dreaded season to sufferers of dry eye. Fall brings cooler, dryer air and with it, the urge to build fires to warm up on crisp autumn nights. This combination, however, is a recipe for disaster for people who experience symptoms of dry eye due to tear evaporation, as increased wind, smoke, and dry air can rapidly evaporate moisture off the surface of your eye.

Luckily, you can take steps to reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies and dry eye in the fall. Try to avoid being outside on windy and low-humidity days. If you must be outside, try wearing wraparound sunglasses or add safety shields to the tops and sides of your sunglasses to block wind and dry air. You should also try to avoid smoke and be aware of your environment in case of the presence of allergens.

We all want to have a great time outdoors this fall, picking apples and pumpkins, hiking in the mountains, and enjoying the warmth of a glowing fire. When we are equipped with the knowledge and resources to prevent dry eye and allergies, Fall just might be the best time of year!

The team of professional eye doctors at Thomas Eye Group can help diagnose and manage your seasonal ocular allergy and dry eye symptoms at one of our eight locations, which are lead by Board Certified Ophthalmologists, Stuart Newman, M.D., and Leon Gross, M.D. For more information on Eye Allergy Testing and Dry Eye, or to book your appointment please call us at 770-475-5515 or visit our website at

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