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.
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.
- 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.