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Dry eyes or Autumn allergies?

By Michelle Sutton 2 years ago 2369 Views No comments

If you suffer from sore, watery eyes at his time of year, how do you know if you have dry eyes or Autumn allergies?

Here at Butterflies Eyecare, our pharmacist Michelle and optician James explore both conditions below.

Autumn Allergies

Some Autumn allergies are caused airborne mould spores or ragweed pollens which are released later in the year than most pollens. If your watery eyes are combined with sneezing, a runny, blocked or itchy nose and itchy eyes, then Autumn allergies could be the problem.


The most common Autumn allergy is ragweed (pictured) because it pollinates between August and October.

Although ragweed is not a native plant to the UK, it is common in North America and Europe and its highly allergenic and large volume of spores can travel for hundreds of miles and have been detected in the East Midlands.

Allergy UK

Allergy UK have reported that climate change leading to warmer conditions will enable ragweed growth and consequent allergies to its pollen to rise in the UK. In addition to this it is an extremely persistent and hardy weed that can even survive over the winter.

Mould spores

According to the current pollen forecast from The National Pollen and Aerobiological Unit based at the University of Worcester and the Met Office, mould spores are particularly high in the south east of England and more moderate elsewhere.

As the leaves change colour and fall to the ground, the rotting leaves and wood cause mould spores and other irritants to be released into the cool Autumn air and these can be just as troublesome as pollen for allergy sufferers.

Usually by November, the colder weather has arrived and these Autumn allergy symptoms improve when the temperature stabilises.

So if your symptoms follow this pattern, try anti-histamine tablets and our anti-allergy eye drops and eye washes.

Or is it dry eyes?


Over recent weeks, as the temperature fluctuates outside from warm to cool, humidity in the home decreases and this is aggravated by switching on the central heating. Low indoor humidity dries out the eyes, nose and breathing passages leading to inflammation and discomfort.

This lower indoor humidity is combined with computer screen use in an office environment or an increase in staying indoors watching televisions at home. The reduction in blinking causes more tears to evaporate from the surface of the eye leading to the common symptoms of dry eyes;

Sore eyes

Red eyes

Watery eyes

Reduced vision

Dislike of bright lights

What can I do?

To combat low humidity in the home or office, add water to our Radiator Humidifier and hook onto a nearby radiator.

To treat dry eyes, see our updated Guide to Choosing Eye Drops for Dry Eyes.