Do you experience frequent burning, irritation, or discomfort in your eyes? Are they sensitive to light, or possibly even watery? These are some of the common symptoms of dry eye disease, a common condition that occurs when your eyes aren’t able to produce adequate lubrication. In many cases, this is a result of the eyes either not producing enough tears or producing low-quality tears.
The word “disease” may have caught your attention. Indeed, this is a disease of the eyes that simple rewetting drops from your local pharmacy may not adequately address. The tear inadequacy mentioned above, if not treated, can lead to inflammation, damage to the eye’s surface, eye infections, and permanent damage to the tear glands required to produce high-quality tears.
The list of causes and risk factors is lengthy. Some of the most common causes are aging, hormone changes, certain medical condition, certain medications, allergies, clogged tear glands, computer use, environmental factors, and even contact lens usage.
Signs and symptoms, which usually affect both eyes, may include:
- A stinging or burning sensation in your eyes
- Light sensitivity
- Eye redness
- A gritty or sandy feeling in your eyes
- Stringy mucus in or around your eyes
- Difficulty wearing contact lenses
- Watery eyes (the body’s response to the irritation of dry eyes)
- Blurred vision or eye fatigue
There are several preventative measures you can take to reduce the effects of dry eyes. Avoid air blowing in your eyes, for example, a fan at work or the AC in your car. Use a humidifier in the winter to add moisture to the air. Take eye breaks during long tasks, such as staring at a computer for several hours. Avoid smoking or smoky environments and use artificial tears regularly. Also consider the foods and drinks you consume, which can play a role in ocular dryness. Our doctors can review this with you.
Putting aside the medical component, patients often find the decreased quality of life most frustrating. When dry eyes make it difficult to enjoy everyday activities like reading, or you find yourself constantly having to put lubricating drops in your eyes, your quality of life can be affected. Our doctors take this very seriously and we’ll work with you to restore the quality of life you desire and deserve.
Treatment for dry eyes is unique to each individual. Our doctors will identify the root causes and work with you to implement a treatment plan that restores healthy vision and comfort while preventing long-term damage that can result from untreated dry eye.