Are you ignoring dry eyes? Have you noticed that your eyes feel dry, itchy, or even sometimes watery but never took it seriously and went on with life? If yes, then you are ignoring dry eyes. In fact, most of the people who experience these symptoms don’t take them seriously until the symptoms become unbearable. You shouldn’t ignore dry eye symptoms because they don’t go away on their own.

What is Dry Eye and What causes Dry Eye?

Tears keep your eyes moist enough and are very essential for optimal eye health. Dry Eye Syndrome is the reduction in the amount or quality of tears that are produced in your eyes.

Ideally, tear film covers the eyes always to prevent the eyes from drying out and thus ensure clear vision. If for some reason the glands that produce tears start to produce fewer tears or tears that are not of good quality and don’t have the proper balance of water, oils, proteins, and electrolytes, the tear film can become unstable, allowing dry spots to form on the surface of the eye. This causes disruptions in an outer barrier of the eye’s epithelial surface and the disruptions allow microbes to invade the eye, leading to irritation and infection. Many factors can cause this condition including tear gland dysfunction, eyelid problems, medications, and environmental factors.

Symptoms of Dry Eye

As mentioned above, many of the symptoms of dry eye include burning, stinging, itching, grittiness, soreness, or a feeling of a foreign object in the eye. Additionally, you may also experience redness in the eye and light sensitivity. Vision may also be blurred or doubled at times and the eyes may fatigue easily. Another common symptom is that blurry vision clears when you blink. This happens because the tear film doesn’t form a smooth coat over the eye surface or it evaporates too quickly causing blurry vision.

Sometimes, you may also notice pain, some discharge from the eye especially when you wake up in the morning. If you are a contact lens wearer, you may experience discomfort when wearing contact lenses. Excessive tearing is another sign of dry eye which can be confusing but the truth is excessive tears are the result of your eye trying to compensate for the lack of moisture. However, these excessive tears are of very low quality and are not good enough to keep your eyes moist.

Reducing Symptoms

You should try to find out the reason that is causing you dry eye. Reasons can be anything like taking medication or being exposed to environmental factors. Here are some medications that may cause dry eye as a side effect:

  • Antihistamines and Decongestants
  • Sleeping pills
  • Birth Control pills
  • Diuretics
  • Acne medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Opiate-based painkillers such as morphine
  • Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors

Note! Never stop medication without the approval of your eye doctor! If you feel the medication you are taking is causing dry eye,  talk to your doctor first. Treating dry eye symptoms is probably a much simpler solution than stopping or switching medications.

You can alter your environment to reduce dry eye also. Some environmental factors that can increase dry eye include:

  • Extended use of computers or other electronic devices
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Exposure to dry, windy climates or blowing air
  • Exposure to smoke
  • High altitudes

Treatment for Dry Eye

If you are experiencing dry eye symptoms, book an appointment with your eye doctor. The doctor may perform a tear film test that can determine the quantity and quality of the tears. He will also check if your tear glands and tear film are functioning properly.

Treatment may vary depending on the underlying cause of the problem. Treatment may include environmental or behavioral changes such as using a humidifier, wearing sunglasses in windy weather, reducing digital time or changing to a different type of contact lens, as well as medical treatments which may include:

  • Artificial tears, eye drops, or ointments to moisten your eyes
  • Steroid or antibiotic drops for certain conditions such as blepharitis
  • Reducing the amount of the drainage of tears by blocking tear ducts with silicone plugs
  • Medications such as Restasis that reduce inflammation
  • Scleral lenses which hold moisture on the surface of the eyeball
  • Surgical procedures may be recommended in some cases.

Treatments are available that increase the moisture of your eye and reduce all the discomfort dry eye causes. So, if you or your loved one is experiencing dry eye, don’t suffer unnecessarily and contact your eye doctor for help.

For any problem related to dry eye or to book a comprehensive eye exam with our experts at Advanced Eye Clinic contact us today.