Why Are Your Eyes Dry?

The severity of dry eyes differs from person to person, but the problem is a common one and happens when your eyes don’t produce enough tears or produce poor quality tears. Dry eyes can cause those peepers to be very uncomfortable and may produce burning or stinging. Some experience the symptoms of dry eyes in certain situations like on airplanes or in air-conditioned rooms. But some people experience them all the time, no matter the climate or temperature. Read on to learn not only what can cause your eyes to be dry but how you can treat this common problem, too.

For more information from the top Orange County Lasik center regarding dry eyes and vision treatment, contact Advanced Eye Medical today.

What Causes Dry Eyes?

There are a variety of causes for dry eyes including exposure to a dry climate (like in the desert or on an airplane), air conditioning or a heater in the winter, or it might simply be a result of a lack of balance in your tears. Our tears are a combination of water, oils, mucus and antibodies that help to keep infection at bay. Tears come from the glands around our eyes and dry eyes can be a confirmation that this tear system is out of whack.

Other causes for dry eyes include aging, going through menopause (dry eyes are more common for women than men), side effects of certain drugs such as antihistamines, problems with your eyelids not closing properly or even certain diseases that can impact our ability to make tears.

Dry Eye Symptoms

When tears don’t provide us with enough moisture for our eyes, the following symptoms might be present:

  • A burning or stinging sensation.
  • A gritty feeling, like there is something in your eye.
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Blurry vision or eye fatigue.
  • Sensitivity to light.
  • Stringy mucus in or around your eyes.

You also might experience difficulty wearing contact lenses or driving at night if you suffer from dry eyes. Chronic dry eye sufferers can sometimes experience an increase in eye infections because, without adequate tears, there is little protection for the surface of the eye. If left untreated, dry eyes can actually cause damage to the corneal surface, eye inflammation, corneal ulcers and vision problems.

Dry Eye Treatment and Prevention

If you recognize any of the symptoms mentioned above and find yourself suffering from chronic dry eyes, it’s important to recognize the situations that are causing your symptoms and then avoid them to prevent any further issues.

For example, you may need to avoid situations where air is blowing into your eyes. This type of situation can be caused by car heaters, air conditioners, fans and even hair dryers. If necessary, add moisture to the air but using a humidifier, especially during the dry and cold winter months.

Protective eye wear can also be an important deterrent to dry eyes. Be sure to ask your eye care professional about wrap-around sunglasses and protective shields for the tops and/or sides of your glasses. This can help keep the wind and dry air for irritating your eyes.

If you spend much of your time reading and/or working on a computer, you are more susceptible to dry eyes. It’s important to take breaks during long tasks where you have to have intense visual concentration. Close your eyes or blink repeatedly to help spread your tears evenly and insure your eyes are coated with moisture. You can also position your computer monitor below eye level. This will allow you to not have to open your eyes as wide to see the screen and focus, which slows the evaporation of your tears in between blinking.

If you live or find yourself traveling to high altitudes or in desert areas, you know the air is extremely dry. You might find the need to close your eyes frequently for several minutes to help minimize the evaporation of your tears. You can also use eye drops for chronic dry eyes. If in a dry environment, you should use them even if your eyes feel fine to help keep them well-lubricated.

Orange County Lasik Center

Just like any health checkup, it is important to get your eyes checked regularly. If you suffer from chronic dry eyes, visit Dr. Ghosheh and his team at Advanced Eye Medical. Don’t let issues with your vision become a more serious health issue. Schedule your consultation today with the premier Orange County Lasik eye center today.

How Common Eye Allergies Affect You

man experiencing common eye allergies

Allergies can affect the body in a variety of different ways, but it seems that the eyes take quite the beating when it comes to allergies.  The most common types of allergens include pollen, dust (and dust mites), wasp and bee stings, mold, pet dander and even some chemicals found around the house.  In addition to these common allergens, there are millions of people that have allergies to foods, medicines and metals as well. While the body can react differently to these allergens, there are particular reactions that become apparent in common eye allergies.

TYPES OF COMMON EYE ALLERGIES

There are two types of eye allergies: seasonal and perennial.

Seasonal Eye Allergies

These allergies happen during certain times of the year.  For many people, it’s usually triggered in early spring through summer and then into autumn.  The triggers are airborne and commonly found in the pollen from grass, treats, weeds, and molds.

Perennial Eye Allergies

These allergies happen all year long and are typically caused by things like dust mites, down feathers (found in pillows and bedding), and pet dander.  Other things like perfumes, smoke, cosmetics and medicines can also play a rule.

SYMPTOMS

Eye allergies are allergic reactions on the surface of the eye and are typically caused by airborne allergens getting into the eye.  They can also be transferred to the eye by touching or itching the eye.  Eye allergies can be detected by severe pink or red appearance of the eye and swollen or puffy eyelids.

PREVENTION & TREATMENT

First and foremost, one of the best ways to help you prevent an allergic reaction is to first know what your triggers are.  Some will be very obvious to you, such as a food or allergy to a pet (like coming in contact with a cat).  However, if you are getting frequent allergic reactions and you aren’t sure what your triggers are, a doctor can help you narrow down which allergens are triggering your allergic reactions.

Once you know what your triggers are, the next step in prevention is to avoid obvious contact with the allergic triggers.  For example, if you know that you are allergic and get a reaction to pollen and the pollen count for the day is high, stay indoors and close the windows.  If it’s warm, you can run the air conditioner instead of running any kind of fans (especially window fans).  If you go outside, wear eyeglasses or sunglasses to help block airborne allergens from getting into your eyes.

If you are allergic to dust and dust mites, there are things that you can do around your house to help prevent your exposure.  Consider getting air purifiers to help clear the air out and limit your exposure by using special pillow and mattress coverings that help keep allergens out.  It’s also helpful to make sure to frequently wash your bedding and replace old mattresses.  Some other household suggestions for avoiding allergic reactions to dust and/or pet dander include blinds over curtains and installing hardwood or tile floors instead of carpet.

If you are experiencing an allergic reaction that is affecting your eyes, there are several things that you can do to help stop and treat the symptoms of allergies.  It is very important that you avoid itching your eyes, as it will only make things worse.  You risk getting more allergens into the eye, irritating or scratching the eye, and causing damage.  You can use eye drops to help clear the eye surface from any allergens and ease the dryness and itchiness of the eye.  You should also be sure to frequently wash and clean your hands and avoid itching or touching your eye whenever possible.  You can also take over the counter and prescription allergy medication to help manage your allergies.

While allergies can definitely take its toll on your eyes, it doesn’t have to with the proper assessment, prevention and treatment. Please do not hesitate to contact Advanced Eye Medical today for any questions or concerns you may have regarding common eye allergies.

How to Get Rid of Red Eyes

Red eyes are easy to detect because the eyes will look very swollen and feel itchy, uncomfortable, watery, and, occasionally, full of discharge. The bloodshot look of red eyes often comes from the bursting of blood vessels in the eye.

A few common reasons for red eyes are the aforementioned broken blood vessels, inflamed eyelids, and/or a sty in the actual eye. Conjunctivitis or “pink eye” is also a common contagious illness that affects the eye and turns it very red and swollen-looking. You can also get red eyes from allergies to pollen, dander, or dust; or come down with a case of dry-eye when your tear-glands produce an insufficient amount of lubrication for your eyes.

There are many other causes such as swimming, smoking, or spending too much time on the computer that also causes your eyes to go red.

Here are some tips to get rid of red eyes effectively.

Try Eye Drops

There are two main varieties of eye drops depending on the severity of your eye redness. There are over-the-counter eye drops and prescription eye drops. Over-the-counter are inexpensive and faster to acquire, but sometimes prescription eye drops are needed for an infection that is persistent or very painful. Lubricating eye drops are great for dry, itchy eyes and mostly come in over-the-counter form. They mimic the sensation of tears and add moisture and comfort to your eyes.

There are also decongestant eye drops, which are great if you have red eyes due to a cold or the flu. Resist using decongestant eye drops if your eyes are overly dry as these drops tend to make those symptoms worse. Decongestion mainly helps your eyes look less red by shrinking the red vessels and helping clear your infected sinuses along with other cough and flu medication you might be taking.

Antihistamine eye drops are great for those suffering from allergies. This eye drop will reduce the itchiness, redness, and puffiness of the eyes while providing lubrication and comfort.

Place Ice or Cold Compresses on Your Eyes

Reducing the temperature of your eyes actually constricts blood vessels, and will help the redness go down as well as soothe any swelling and irritation.

Try placing two frozen metal spoons over your eyes and resting for twenty minutes. If you do this a couple of times within an hour, your eyes will feel much better and chances are they will look less red and puffy.

An ice pack or cold cloth will also work well, but the proximity, metal and shape of the spoons on your eyes tend to be a speedier cooling process.

Give it Time

As frustrating as it is to have a red eye, sometimes the best thing to do is wait for the redness to subside. This is a good option if the cause of the redness is specifically from a burst blood vessel. You can burst a blood vessel easily if you are on certain blood-thinners or exercising rigorously. You can even burst a blood vessel if you are constipated. The redness subsides in about a week, is painless, and typically only occurs in one eye at a time.

When To See a Medical Professional

If your eye redness and pain is persistent and preventing you from seeing properly or sleeping, be sure to speak to a medical professional who can prescribe to you an eye drop that suits your needs or other tips to keep the infection or rupture from worsening.

If you think you have pink eye, see a doctor immediately to receive a prescription. You’ll know it’s pink eye if the redness starts in one eye and within a day spreads to the other, if the eye(s) feels leaky, irritated, and itchy and is swollen.

Stay home from work and rest as pink eye is very contagious. Be sure to wash your hands frequently with good quality soap and hand sanitizer and avoid touching your eyes or face until the infection is gone. This will prevent your friends, family, or others from contracting pink eye from you.

Find Out More and Ask Questions

Everyone’s eyes are unique and it’s good to ask medical professionals such as the eye specialists at Advanced Eye Medical about any red eye symptoms, eye infection prevention, and good cleaning habits for your contact lenses to avoid redness in your eyes.

Treating Eyes Affected by Allergies

Allergies and Your Eyes

Eye allergies often occur in cases of seasonal allergies. If red, itchy, watery eyes and swollen eyelids accompany sneezing and a runny nose, you may be experiencing eye allergies.

In some instances, eye allergies can cause pink eye or conjunctivitis and other eye infections.

Causes of Eye Allergies

The substance that a person is allergic to is known as an allergen. These are usually innocuous substances that the body mistakes for toxins and in turn produces histamines. Histamines are the leading cause in allergic reactions. Pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are the most common causes for eye allergies, as they are airborne.

Food allergies and insect bites/bee stings are not usually detrimental to the eyes and do not generally cause eye allergies.

Relieving Your Symptoms

If you need relief from your itchy, watery or swollen eyes, you should avoid allergens, remove your contacts (if you are a contact lens wearer), and make use of eye drops and medication, both over the counter and prescription depending on your doctor’s recommendation.

The best defense against eye allergies is to simply limit your exposure to the substance that triggers your symptoms. Do everything possible to protect yourself from the offending substance (for example, check the pollen count during allergy season or wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from the allergen).

The surfaces of contact lenses can attract airborne allergens. Consider using standard eyeglasses during allergy season if you have what is known as hay fever (seasonal allergies).

Over the counter allergy eye drops are available to ease the symptoms of eye allergies. This is because eye allergies are relatively common and certainly unpleasant, so if you need relief from your watery, itchy eyes you may be able to simply use eye drops from your local pharmacy. Ask your doctor what eye drops or medication is right for you. If your symptoms are more severe, you may need to consider prescription medication.

If your symptoms are severe and your doctor sees fit, they may want to prescribe medication for your eye allergies. These medications come in both eye drop and oral forms. Some of the medications available are antihistamines, decongestants, mast cell stabilizers, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and steroids.

Antihistamines act to block the receptors that histamines bind to when you come in contact with an allergen. These medications work better as preventative medications than after the fact. Antihistamines relieve the runny nose and itchy, watery eyes produced by allergies.

Decongestants work to lessen the swollen nasal passages and increase airflow through the nasal passages so you can breathe easier. Additionally, red eyes are relieved by decongestants by reducing the size of the blood vessels on the white of the eye. There are combination antihistamine/decongestant drugs available. Their brand name usually ends with “-D.”

Mast cell stabilizers change the mast cells and prevent them from releasing histamine and any related secretion in allergic reactions. It may take a few weeks for the complete effect of this type of medication to become apparent. Because of this, it may be better to use mast cell stabilizers as a preventative measure for allergy season.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, come in eye drops that may be prescribed to reduce swelling, inflammation and other symptoms that accompany seasonal allergies, or hay fever.

In very severe cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed; however, there are potential side effects from prolonged use such as high eye pressure, glaucoma and cataracts. Because of this, they are typically prescribed for a short duration of time.

There is also a treatment known as immunotherapy in which an allergist injects the patient with small amounts of the substance they are allergic to, and subsequently more amounts until the immune system builds up a tolerance for the allergen.

Consult Your Doctor

If you have eye allergies, itchy, red, watery eyes or swollen eyelids and need relief may trouble you. Talk to your doctor today about what option may be right for you and your symptoms. Schedule a visit with Dr. Ghosheh of Laser for Eyes to discuss your treatment options for your eye allergies. If you have further questions, take a look at Dr. Ghosheh’s medical blog for further information on eye allergies and other eye conditions.