If you suffer from dry eyes, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans experience the scratching, burning, and grittiness of dry eyes every year. Most don’t fully understand the causes or the possible solutions for their dry eyes.
WHAT ARE DRY EYES EXACTLY?
Dry eye is what happens when your eyes either produce too few tears or the tears they do produce are of low quality. Tears (which are a mixture of water, oil, and mucus) are vital to eye comfort, and they aid in the quality of your vision. If something is off with your tears, then the result could be dry eyes.
COMMON DRY EYE SYMPTOMS
You may have dry eye if you experience one or more of these common symptoms:
- Itchy eyes
- Gritty feeling in the eyes
- Blurred vision
- Burning eyes
- Feeling like a foreign body is irritating your eyes
- Watery eyes (although it seems counter-intuitive, watering of the eyes is indeed a symptom of dry eye)
These symptoms could be either mild or severe, and they will typically affect both eyes.
COMMON CAUSES OF DRY EYES
Many different factors could be causing or contributing to your dry eyes. These include:
- Hormonal changes
- Reactions to certain medications like antihistamines, antidepressants, birth control pills, and blood pressure medications
- Arthritis, autoimmune disorders, and other medical conditions
- Improperly fit contact lenses
- Changes in climate and your surrounding environment
- Post eye surgery (i.e. Lasik or refractive)
WAYS TO TREAT YOUR DRY EYES
There are a wide variety of treatments available, many of which you can do yourself without the aid of an optometrist. For example, over the counter artificial tears can help ease the symptoms brought on by dry eye, and adding more Omega 3 fatty acids to your diet can help prevent dry eye from developing. Perhaps the best thing you can do to prevent or treat dry eye is to drink plenty of water and remember to blink often throughout the day.
HOW AN OPTOMETRIST CAN HELP
If you have a severe case of dry eye, and optometrist may be able to help by subscribing anti-inflammatory eye drops or inserting punctual plugs to slow down tear drainage in your eyes. An optometrist will also be able to give you instructions on how to treat your dry eye, and make sure that it’s not part of a larger problem. Schedule an appointment with a Dallas Eye Doctor today!