What is Dry Eye Syndrome?
The eyes need an ongoing production of tears to maintain comfort and health. If your eyes don’t produce enough tears, then you probably have Dry Eye Syndrome. This condition can affect the comfort of your eyes as well as your vision.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
The name of the condition is an indicator of the symptoms that are often experienced. But, you might be surprised by some of the other symptoms that indicate Dry Eye Syndrome:
- Dry sensation on the surface of the eyes
- Stinging or burning
- Light sensitivity
- Gritty, scratchy feeling when blinking
- Persistent need to use eye drops
- Watery eyes
- Heavy eyelids
Most patients notice that these symptoms are worse later in the day. Also, the symptoms can vary depending on the environment and conditions each day.
Causes of Dry Eyes
If you are experiencing dry eyes, then it means that you either have an inadequate amount of tears or the eyes are producing poor quality tears. Each time you blink, tears are spread across the surface of the eye to keep it clear and smooth. When excess tears are present, then they flow into the drainage ducts located in the corners of the eyelids near your nose. It is essential that tear production and drainage are in balance, otherwise dry eye syndrome might develop.
Tear production often diminishes with age. Other causes of decreased tear production might be due to certain medications, hormonal changes, or environmental conditions. For example, windy conditions increase the evaporation of the tears, which can lead to the development of dry eye symptoms.
Diagnosing Dry Eye Syndrome
An eye exam with an optometrist is the best way to determine the cause of your discomfort. A basic eye examination is just the start of the diagnostic process. Other tests can be used using the latest diagnostic equipment to determine the extent and cause of the problem. This information is important to identify the right treatment plan for your eye condition.
Dry Eye Treatments
There is no reason to suffer if you are experiencing dry eyes. The best thing that you can do is schedule an examination with an optometrist for personalized recommendations. Most patients experience chronic symptoms, so ongoing treatments are needed for relief.
Mild cases of dry eyes can be treated by adding tears with over-the-counter eye drops. Your doctor can recommend a good brand without additives or other ingredients that might irritate the eyes. Another option is to use prescription eye drops that increase tear production.
Other treatments might be focused on changing the cause of the dry eyes. For example, adjusting dosage and frequency of medication usage can affect the production of tears. You might be using medications for an unrelated health condition and experience a side effect that dries out the eyes.
Lifestyle factors also need to be considered. If you spend a significant time in front of a screen, then dry eyes could result. Adjusting screen time or taking frequent breaks can reduce the symptoms. Or, it might be necessary to treat seasonal eye allergies that might be causing dry eyes. Your eye doctor can help you identify the cause and proper treatments for your condition. Contact our office to access personalized recommendations for your dry eye problems.