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Eye irritation: What do my symptoms mean?


From the dry and scratchy feeling of dry eyes to the bloodshot and red eyes normally associated with allergies, eye irritation can come in many forms and be attributed to just as many causes. Being able to recognize the difference between common irritating conditions and their causes is the first step in understanding how to restore comfort to your eyes.

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a medical condition that causes recurring eye discomfort often attributed to:

1) An insufficient amount of tears produced by the eye

2) Poor quality tears that don’t properly hydrate the eye

Common causes may include: aging, hormone changes and exposure to wind or sun.

What is Red Eye?

While red eye shares many of the same symptoms as dry eye, red eye irritation is most commonly a temporary discomfort caused by allergens, dust or other minor irritants.

Red eye will usually return to normal with proper hygiene and time.

To properly and best treat your symptoms, always consider symptoms and possible causes together. Visit your eye care professional if symptoms worsen or persist more than 72 hours.

Symptoms of Dry Eye vs. Red Eye (due to allergies)

DRY EYE RED EYE (allergy-related)
Dryness Dryness
Scratchy Scratchy
Burning / stinging Burning / stinging
Gritty Gritty
Blurry vision Blurry vision
Watery / tearing Watery / tearing
Redness Redness
Itchy Itchy
Swelling / inflammation Swelling / inflammation
Sensitivity to light Sensitivity to light

Causes of Dry Eye vs. Red Eye

  • Aging
  • Hormone changes
  • Environmental factors including wind and sun
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Long-term contact lens wear
  • Lasik or other refractive surgeries
  • Reduced blinking
  • Other health conditions

Allergies related to:

  • Pet hair or dander
  • Mold
  • Dust
  • Grass, tree or weed pollen
  • Makeup or perfume


GENTEAL Tears is an artificial tear product that can provide relief for dryness of the eyes. When you experience discomfort or irritation due to temporary circumstances such as computer vision syndrome, tired eyes or being outdoors in windy and sunny conditions, consider one of the following products.

Soothing Relief

Helps reduce eye discomfort and irritation quickly.

Gentle Protection

Ingredients work together to provide moisture and comfort.

Safe Ingredients

Safe, comfortable and gentle on eyes.

Lasting Protection

Helps shield eyes against further irritation due to dry eye.


While GENTEAL® Tears can help provide relief from the temporary symptoms of dry eye, there are several things you can do to help prevent the causes of dry eye.

Blink Regularly

when reading or staring at a computer screen.

Increase Humidity

in the air, at work and at home.

Reduce Blowing Air

that blows into your eyes from hair dryers, car heaters, fans, etc.

Wear Sunglasses

to protect againts drying winds and the sun.

Wear Goggles

while swimming.

Stay Hydrated

by drinking plenty of water.

Nutritional Supplements

may help decrease dry eye symptoms in some people.

Quit Smoking

to promote better eye heath.

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