As one of our most important and powerful senses, eyesight is vulnerable to a string of issues that can cause visual limitations and irritations. Dry eye is a common condition, which millions of individuals suffer from in varying degrees.
While age is the most cited determinative factor, air quality, changing seasons, and medical ailments may all contribute to dry eye. Also, studies show that excessive computer or screen time may also add to this condition as well. Luckily, treatment for dry eyes is widely available.
Tears are vital for healthy eye surfaces and vision. Dry eye is when the eyes are not sufficiently lubricated and there is no excess moisture that drains in the eyelid ducts. Tears and wetness in the eye decrease the chance of infection, can cleanse any debris in the eye, and most importantly results in clear vision.
Dry eye occurs when tears cannot keep the surfaces of the eyes lubricated. This can result in both minor and major irritations. Common issues experienced by all people include burning sensations, stinging, dryness, pain, itchiness, and redness. Treatment for dry eyes can often be solved with over the counter products, like eye drops.
While age and seasonal factors are common reasons for dry eye, there are other causes which may result in chronic dry eye. If there is a persistent, scratchy feeling in the eyes, heaviness, or blurred vision, dry eye might not be cured through over the counter products. Treatment for dry eyes may need to be stronger. A visit to your eye doctor can help you. Doctors will discuss your symptoms, the length of time you’ve experienced dry eye, additional disorders, and other factors.
Additional reasons that can cause severe and lingering dry eye problems might be various medication use. If you suffer from extreme allergies, taking antihistamines or decongestants may exacerbate dry eye problems.
Additionally, birth control pills, mental health medication, blood pressure medication and more may disrupt chemical imbalances, causing severe dry eye problems. This mixture of medication components may require a prescription as treatment for dry eyes.
Skin issues like rosacea may also be a disruption for lubrication production in the eye glands. Also, autoimmune disorders and other conditions, like thyroid disorders or diabetes have also been connected to severe dry eye.
If you currently suffer from one of these illnesses, it is important to bring it up to your eye doctor in order to determine the best treatment for dry eyes for you.
Eye redness is a key sign of dry eye. Other symptoms include itchiness or grittiness, burning or stinging in the eye or sensitivity to light. It feels like there’s something in the eye causing general discomfort or a feeling of dryness. People with dry eye commonly remark that their eyes tire easily, making it difficult for them to read or watch television. A clear reason for this difficulty is that the frequency of blinking typically decreases during activities that require concentration. As you blink less, there is more time for the tear film to evaporate which causes dryness. Contact lens intolerance can also be a symptom of dry eye. Often, a person with mild to moderate dry eye may not experience symptoms until contact lenses are fitted. The placement of a contact lens can upset the delicate balance of tear film production and distribution, leading to lens intolerance.
While outdoor pollutants are common causes of dry eye, symptoms may also develop in response to indoor environmental quality. Symptoms are most likely to occur when the air’s humidity drops, which commonly occurs in centrally heated or air-conditioned rooms and on airplanes. Dry eye symptoms are also relatively common among workers whose jobs involve looking at a computer screen for extended periods of time. People working at computers don’t blink as often as they would if they were changing focus away from their activity more often. People who wear contact lenses are also more likely to experience dry eye.
As obvious as it may sound, blink more often. Take breaks between activities that require intense eye focus such as reading or working on the computer. Other tips to prevent the onset or progression of dry eye include:
Monitor the humidity indoors. Consider adding a humidifier if the air feels dry. Avoid heavily polluted areas whenever possible. Drink 8 to10 glasses of water a day to stay hydrated. Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the likelihood that you will suffer from dry eye symptoms.
Typical dry eyes treatment includes eye drops, or artificial tears that contain ingredients to mimic natural tears. Artificial tears help hydrate and restore the health of the eye’s surface. Ask your doctor for advice on over-the-counter tears as a dry eyes treatment.
Omega 3, 6, and 9 supplementation systemically can also increase tear production to help with the treatment for dry eyes.
If you experience any of the above symptoms, or need to schedule an eye exam, contact our World-Class Eye Care™ office today!