Dry eyes is a syndrome where there is a significantly less amount of moisture and lubrication on the surface of the eye. Consequences of dry eyes can range from irritation to the inability to wear contact lenses.
Check with your optometrist before purchasing any over-the-counter eye drops. Your eye doctor will know which formulas are effective and safe for your eyes.
Symptoms of Dry Eyes
Persistent dryness, scratching and a burning sensation on your eyes are normal symptoms of dry eyes. Some people with dry eyes feel a “foreign body sensation” – the inclination that something is in the eye. Also, it might seem odd, however sometimes dry eyes can cause watery eyes. The excessive dryness stimulates the creation of reflex tearing.
What Causes Dry Eyes?
In dry eye syndrome, the tear glands that lubricate the eye don’t create enough tears, or the tears have a chemical composition that causes them to disappear quickly. Dry eye syndrome has several causes. It occurs:
Because of aging, especially among women over 40.
Because of too many medications.
Because you live in a dry climate.
Air conditioning and dry heating at home and work can also cause dry eyes. Another cause is insufficient blinking, especially when working on a computer for a long time. Long-term contact lens wear, eye disease and other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis can also cause dry eyes. Hormone fluctuations in women could be why dry eyes are more common for women. Smoking can also increase your risk for dry eyes according to recent research.
Treatment for Dry Eyes
Your RI optometrist may prescribe artificial tears, which are lubricating eye drops that will ease the dry, scratchy feeling of dry eyes. Prescription eye drops for dry eyes actually stimulate the productions of tears. In some cases, your eye doctor may also prescribe a steroid for quick, short-term alleviation.
If medications are the cause of dry eyes, discontinuing the medication for the most part resolves the issue. In any case, the benefits of the medication must be weighed against the side effects. Sometimes switching to an alternate solution alleviates the dry eye symptoms while keeping the required treatment. Regardless, never switch or discontinue your medications without consulting with your eye doctor first.
Treating any eye disease, such as blepharitis, helps as well. This may call for antibiotics or steroid drops, plus continuous eye scrubs with a mild baby shampoo.