Your eyes need tears to stay healthy. Tears flush any dust or particles out of the eye and keep the eyes moist and comfortable. Certain enzymes found in tears protect the eyes from bacteria that can be present in the eye.
For individuals whose eyes do not produce adequate amounts of tears, the results are often discomfort such as perpetual dryness, stinging, scratchiness or the feeling of a foreign body in your eye. Ironically, dry eyes occasionally cause eyes to water excessively in an attempt to combat dryness.
There are several causes of dry eyes. Dry eyes are often age related as most individuals that suffer from dry eyes are adults, and often women during menopause. Dry eye syndrome can be a side effect of many medicines including antihistamines, beta blockers, blood pressure pills or others. Environmental conditions that are particularly dusty, or dry heat or air circulation are also known to cause or worsen dry eyes. Additionally, certain systemic diseases or problems with tear production, continual staring at a computer or contact lens wear can add to the chances of dry eye syndrome.
Dry eye symptoms can often be relieved by use of artificial tears to add moisture. It’s recommended to speak with your eye doctor to make sure you are using the right eye drops in the right way. If non-prescription options don’t help you may need Rx drops that actually help your body to produce more tears.
If eye drops aren’t helpful, your eye doctor might suggest Lacrisert, which is inserted into the eyelid and lets out lubricants throughout the day. You might also want to try punctual plugs which help the eye maintain moisture by restricting tear flow. Some eye doctors might suggest you try ways for you to adapt your environment and your diet to relieve discomfort.
In most cases, dry eyes will not harm your vision permanently but can be an annoyance. Although, severe cases have a chance of making you more susceptible to infection so it is a good idea to consult with your eye doctor.
It’s not necessary to suffer from dry, itchy, burning eyes – contact your eye doctor today!