Is It Dry Eye? Check the Symptoms
Thirty-million adults in 2014 reported having symptoms of dry eye, a number that was predicted to increase since this date. Some doctors may call it “dry eye disease” or “dry eye syndrome” but no matter what, dry eyes can be annoying, painful, and even dangerous to your eyesight. Having consistent dry eyes may cause damage to the surface of your eyes. While it is a common eye issue, it has the ability to interrupt everyday tasks, such as driving, reading, and watching television. Dry eyes can also cause problems for men and women who wear contact lenses. In fact, some people have so many problems with dry eyes that they give up contacts and go back to their glasses.
Let’s learn exactly what dry eye is and what you can do to get rid of it.
What is Dry Eye?
We need tears in order for our eyes to be comfortable, lubricated, and healthy. When a person’s eyes don’t produce the right amount of tears or tear film, this condition is known as dry eye. As a person blinks, a film of tears is spread over the eyes, keeping them clean and clear. This film layer is made up of three parts- a mucus layer, watery layer, and an oily layer. Our eyes typically make enough tears on their own to stay moist. In some cases, the eyes are not able to make enough tears to do their job. Or, something affects a layer in the tear film. Both issues can lead to uncomfortable, dry eyes. Dry eye can also affect a person’s vision if left untreated for too long.
Symptoms of Dry Eye
You can determine if you have dry eyes if you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Your eyes often feel as though they are stinging and burning.
- It is painful or impossible to wear contact lenses.
- You have irritated eyes, especially if you are in a windy area.
- Your eyes are red.
- It feels as though there is something gritty in or around your eye.
- Your eyes feel scratchy.
- You experience strings of mucus around one or both eyes.
While it sounds strange, dry eyes often make more tears when they are irritated. A lot of tears could actually mean that you are suffering from dry eyes if you also experience one or more of the above symptoms.
There are many reasons why dry eyes occur. For some, it is a medical reason, such as thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus. High blood pressure and heart problems may also cause dry eyes. Many medications can also cause symptoms of dry eyes to occur.
Options for Dry Eyes
Depending on the reason for dry eyes, those dealing with the issue can find relief in a number of different ways:
- Artificial tears- Artificial tears, or lubricating eye drops, are typically the best solution for those dealing with dry eyes due to reading, schoolwork, computer use, smartphone use, or something similar. Artificial tears are an over-the-counter remedy that can be purchased at most retail stores without a prescription.
- Warm compresses- Another easy solution that will help to open clogged Meibomian glands is to apply a warm compress to closed eyelids.
- Eye drops- For more severe cases of dry eye, doctors may prescribe eye drops. Inflammation in the eye can cause burning and redness to occur, and artificial tears don’t address this type of underlying issue. Prescription eye drops are a short-term solution to fix inflammation in the eyes. Doctors may recommend them along with artificial tears.
Men and women who suffer from dry eyes should remember to blink frequently and take breaks from computer use to prevent dry eyes from occurring. Remember to rest your eyes from phone or computer use every 20 minutes by looking away from the screen for at least 20 seconds.
No information on this website should be used to start the use of dietary supplements and vitamins, natural and herbal products, homeopathic medicine and other mentioned products prior to a consultation with a physician or certified healthcare provider.